43 FAQ tagged with askmetafilter

How do I sign up for a MetaFilter account?

Go to the New User page to read about accounts and follow the link to sign up and pay for the account. The current sign-up fee is US$5; it's a one-time fee and is the only cost associated with using the site. Once the PayPal payment is completed, your account will be active and you will be allowed to make comments on various MetaFilter threads. Please note that there is a waiting period to create a post to the front page of MetaFilter, however you can create an Ask MetaFilter post immediately.

We enforce a strict rule against posting your own work or work you've contributed to or are posting about in a promotional capacity, except on MetaFilter Projects or MetaFilter Music. Posting a link to a site you're connected to, or posting for promotional purposes (except on Projects or Music), will result in a ban with no refund.

If the signup fee is a financial or logistical hardship, you can drop the moderation team a line via the Contact Us form to ask about a complimentary signup.
(tags: ) February 15, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

How soon can I post after signing up?

You can comment immediately. To make a front page post to MetaFilter, you need to be a member for at least a week and you need to make a comment to the site. Even long-time members have waiting periods between posts. You can make an AskMetafilter post immediately.
(tags: ) April 20, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

What should I know about privacy at Metafilter?

Please check our formal Privacy Policy which addresses points commonly raised in privacy laws.

And here is some more informal general info about social privacy expectations on our site. Moderators generally have access to identity info (your sign-up information, name, email, IP address, etc) that is used for site purposes such as preventing spam or other forms of account abuse. That info is kept private from other members and from the wider internet. We don't sell or rent or share user information to outside parties. 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 (such as location) is not visible to search engines and should not be brought over to the rest of MetaFilter. Similarly, copying and pasting Mefi Mail to any other part of the site without the writer's permission is a bannable offense.

On your own profile page, most information is optional to include, such as full name, email address, etc. Although it's not indexed by search engines, by default most of the information you share there is still publicly viewable, displayed to everyone including non-members. Links to your post and comment history, your contacts, and your favorites, are also displayed to everyone by default. You can choose not to share personal info on that page, and you can choose the "minimal profile" option to hide the links to your post and comment history, contacts, and favorites, from non-members. Much more detail on profile privacy settings.

On the site as a whole, your participation here is public. Your posts, questions, and comments are visible to the whole internet, and they will remain associated with your username permanently. Please think ahead about your own privacy needs, before posting personal information. 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. If you shared some privacy-sensitive info (such as your email address or location) in a comment in the past and now need that deleted, please contact us.

In emergencies--such as 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 public site data for academic study and there is an Infodump of public site data available for number crunchers. Members can download a copy of their comments on Metafilter, MetaTalk, and Ask Metafilter as a text file (see links at the bottom of your Preferences page).

As with anything here: if you have questions, just ask us.
(tags: ) December 12, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

Where are the Metafilter Community Guidelines and Content Policy?

Here's a link to the Metafilter Community Guidelines. These guidelines describe the kind of place we want Metafilter to be, and how we should aim to treat each other. The MetaFilter Content Policy discusses what sort of content on the site is unacceptable.

We also have a page about Microaggressions, what they are and how to avoid them.

(tags: ) October 26, 2019 - permalink - back to questions

How do I post an anonymous question in AskMe? Is there a function for anonymous follow-ups?

The anonymous posting form can be reached from a the regular "New Question" page of AskMetafilter. When you use this form, your question goes into a queue that is only read by the moderators. It will have to be approved, so it won't be posted immediately. Generally questions are approved (or not) within 48 hours. Not all anon questions will be posted, but most will. If you are wondering about a question you submitted a few days ago, you can contact the moderators to ask about it.

Your posting is not linked to your username in the MetaFilter database; anonymous questions are posted through the Anonymous user account. However, the admins can ascertain who posted the question if they need to. Anonymous questions are for basic privacy from the Mefi userbase, not for hiding from Interpol. You can read more about how the AnonyMe mechanism works in this thread.

Questions about illegal activities are unlikely to be approved. Questions whose only answers are "see a doctor" or "see a lawyer" are unlikely to be approved. Questions about ordinary subject matter that doesn't seem to fit the needs of being anonymous may not be approved. Please do not ask questions about suicide or revenge. (If you are feeling suicidal, please seek in-person help. The ThereIsHelp page has a list of resources/hotlines.) We can not promise to keep your information confidential if we think you might harm yourself or others.

There is no mechanism for commenting anonymously, but the admins will post a follow-up comment to your anonymous question for you -- use the contact form linked at the bottom right of each page to reach the admins. Other MeFi users are often willing to do this too. Sometimes people set up disposable email accounts so they can be contacted about an anonymous posting. This feature is not intended to provide absolute anonymity, please do not use it if that is what you require.

If you need to ask a question that's not associated with your main account, and you want to be able to follow-up by yourself, you are permitted to buy an extra "sockpuppet" account. Here are the guidelines about second accounts. We ask that people use the anonymous feature sparingly, not more than once or twice a year. If you feel you want to ask a number of questions separately from your main account, getting a second account may be a better solution.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

How long does it usually take for an anonymous question to be posted to Ask Metafilter?

Usually anonymous questions are posted within 48 hours. You can check the feed of Anon questions here. Some types of questions may not be approved such as: questions related to suicide, revenge, self-harm; questions that are illegal, repetitive, trollish, ranty, unanswerable or too obvious; questions where the answer is "ask a lawyer/doctor/tax pro"; questions that contain a lot of personally-identifiable detail; or questions that don't appear to require anonymity. Whether an anonymous question is posted or not, there's no notification -- so if you have a question about the status of your anonymous question, please get in touch with the mod team via the contact form.
(tags: ) April 20, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

My Ask Metafilter question was removed as chatfilter. What does that mean?

Ask Metafilter questions need to have some possible answer or should be asking for information that will be put to some practical use. Chatty open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of Ask Metafilter and push other questions off the front page. If you want to avoid having your question flagged and possibly removed, here are some things to avoid.

- Questions where everyone's answer is equally valid along the lines of "What's your favorite X?". Maybe there is a reason you want to know? Super, just put it in your question.
- Asking the question and giving your own answer before getting the answers of others, saying some variant of "I'll go first" If you can authoritatively answer your own question, it's probably not right for AskMe.
- Questions with no problem to be solved or where the problem is some variant of "I'm curious if other people feel like I do"
- Open-ended unanswerable or hypothetical questions like "What if Hitler had never been born?" or made up "what if" science questions. Creating arbitrary constraints and then playing "what if" is not a good use of AskMe.
- Questions that are some version of "What is the deal with X?"or "X sucks, am I right?" tend to not go well on Ask MetaFilter. Please do not rant on AskMe and pretend it is a question.

Put another way "...if your motivation for asking the question is 'I would like to participate in a discussion about X,' then you shouldn't be doing it in AskMe. If your motivation is 'I would like others to explain X to me,' then you're probably OK."
(tags: ) May 3, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

My Mefi post or AskMe question was edited to remove my cute "more inside" play on words, wtf?

The words "more inside" only appear on the front page of AskMe, they don't appear when people read Mefi or AskMe via RSS, or on the actual page of the question. As a result when you end your question with something like "as always there's..." (expecting that "more inside" will complete the sentence) it makes no sense to people reading via RSS or looking at the actual question page. Editing cute "more inside" jokes is one of the only edits we make to a post that is not at the poster's request.
(tags: ) October 18, 2007 - permalink - back to questions

Is there a way to turn a non-anonymous old question into an anonymous one?

We do have a way to anonymize old posts, however it is not something we do lightly. We will anonymize old questions rarely, if it's important. Contact a mod if you want this done. Please do not ask questions under your real name that you plan to anonymize later.
(tags: ) March 28, 2008 - permalink - back to questions

Why can't I remove a 'stumped' or a 'resolved' tag from my AskMe question?

The tags 'resolved' and 'stumped' have a special meaning and are treated differently at Ask MetaFilter. A question with either of these tags shows up in different places on the site to help others find them. A question tagged with 'resolved' appears in the list of Resolved Questions on the Answered Questions page. Questions tagged with 'stumped' appear in the Stumped Questions list on the Unanswered Questions page. This gives people interested in seeing complete answers or helping with particularly hard questions an easy way to find them.

Because these tags move the questions into different areas of the site, questions can only be tagged 'resolved' or 'stumped' once. This prevents the question from appearing at the top of these lists more than once.

If you need to remove a 'resolved' or 'stumped' tag from a post, please contact one of the mods.
(tags: ) July 2, 2008 - permalink - back to questions

How do I post code or other marked up text?

Because the site strips a lot of extraneous HTML from questions, it can be difficult to post things that need special formatting or include special characters. If you want to include code snippets or other text with your question, you can use a tool like pastebin that allows you to link to properly formatted code that you can mark up with syntax highlighting.
(tags: ) June 16, 2009 - permalink - back to questions

What makes a good question for Ask MetaFilter?

Often the key to getting good answers in Ask MetaFilter is spending some time crafting a good question. Here are some tips

1. Be concise. While it can be tempting to include every detail of a conflict or a dilemma, try to stick to details that are necessary for people to understand and answer your question. Try to differentiate between what is just venting and upset feelings and what is important to the answerer about your problem.
2. Be specific. Some questions literally can not be answered if we don't know the details. Relevant details make for more helpful responses.
3. Break information into memorable chunks. Put important details together. Feel free to use bullet points. Even if you started with your question, if your question is long, repeat the thing you'd like help with at the end.
4. Proofread, spellcheck and preview. While mods can go in and make edits, they may not be able to do it immediately. Make sure you've spelled things correctly, make sure your links work, make sure your question isn't just a big wall of text with no paragraph breaks.
5. Stay calm. You will get a better response to your question if you do not seem angry, irritable, ranting or otherwise unreliable as a narrator. If you can't ask your question with some level of objectivity, it might be better to wait until you can.

Try to read your question as if you didn't know you. Is there enough information? Is there too much information? Is the story easy to follow? If it's on a sensitive topic have you included another method of contact [MeMail or a throwaway email address]? If it turns out you've left something out, please feel free to email the mods via the contact form and we'll be happy to update your question or you can leave a comment in the thread.
(tags: ) October 21, 2011 - permalink - back to questions

When is it okay to do a "Critique my X!" post on Ask MetaFilter?

Ask MetaFilter is sometimes used for people who want feedback on something they have worked on whether it's an dating profile, a resume, a piece of fiction/poetry or a website. While AskMe is not for general critiquing sessions, it is for solving problems. Problem-solving based questions are okay. Here are some guidelines on how to make a post asking for a critique that is within the site guidelines

- Content must be publicly viewable and stay that way. Making an dating profile only temporarily public, for example, breaks the question for future readers.
- Askers must have specific questions about the content not just "Tell me what you think." What is the outcome you are looking for? What have you already tried? What is not working that you need help with?
- Questions must not be looking to self-promote. Resume critiques must be clearly not also job-hunting. Website reviews must also be clearly not click-bait. See here for more about self-linking.

If you're unsure, please feel free to ask the mods via the contact form.
(tags: ) July 2, 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 should I know about Covid-19 Coronavirus on Metafilter?

Metafilter members can help each other by observing good information hygiene (share reliable information sources, use good judgment, don't panic).

- The Metafilter Community Wiki is collecting reference info on this page: Disaster Planning, Medical / Pandemic.
- Here are some site-related COVID-19 Updates

Here is a COVID Mini-FAQ:

Got a question about COVID-19/Coronavirus?
First check the World Health Organization, the US National Institutes of Health, or the US Centers for Disease Control websites, which carry up-to-date, evidence-based information. Depending on where you live, your local health authorities may have the specific information you need. You can still ask questions about it on Ask Metafilter, but please consult those resources first, and please check recently-asked questions about coronavirus before asking yours. Remember that answerers are not necessarily medical professionals, scientists, or researchers, and answers are not authoritative. Don't make critical decisions that rely only on the authority of a random answerer on the internet. Remember that the situation is evolving, and answers or posts from a short time ago may no longer be the best available information -- so take into account when the question or answer was posted.

Answering/commenting about COVID-19/Coronavirus?
Please link to pertinent information from high quality sources, and don't give top-of-the-head "it seems to me" sort of answers if possible. If you have particular professional expertise in the subject, feel free to identify yourself that way when answering, but if you don't, please don't phrase your answer in authoritative way. The best information will sometimes be different from country to country, or even region to region or state to state, so don't assume that conditions where you live are the same everywhere. Please try to keep your tone and response relatively calm. Maybe you're frustrated with someone in your life who is not taking things seriously enough or overreacting, but please don't assume everyone needs the same "truth-bomb" you want to lay on them. People are afraid and confused; good information carefully cited can help. Hyperbole, swearing, and bullying don't help.

Making a Metafilter post about the Coronavirus?
Please check recent posts tagged "coronavirus" and consider if your link would be better as a comment in one of those threads. Diffusing news and info among various posts makes it harder for people to keep track, and overwhelms the site. Also please be very careful you are not spreading disinformation, rumors, or hoaxes.

Need somewhere to chitchat or vent or hang out?
Welcome! There's a lot to talk about, all over the site. The Mefi Chat room is always open (now with an added "Watch" room for live watching events), and Mefi IRL has an "Online" category for virtual meetups. You can find people in Metatalk -- for example, recent Metatalk threads tagged "coronavirus" if you want to talk about that, or general Metatalk chit-chat threads are tagged "community". If you like discussing media, Fanfare is a good place to check, see if any Clubs are having events or check the Watercooler tab for most-active posts, or make a Fanfare Talk post to see if anyone's interested in a livewatch event. The "Recent Comments" tab on MeFi, MeTa or Fanfare is another way to see where active threads are.

Want to hide posts about the virus?
On the blue Metafilter front page, you can use "Set Preferences" on the "MyMefi" tab to hide posts tagged with tags you select. On AskMetafilter, do the same at the "MyAsk" tab. After adding your exclusions use My Ask or My Mefi to view those sections of the site.
(tags: ) March 14, 2020 - permalink - back to questions

How do I post a Mefi post or ask an AskMe question from my phone or tablet?

Metafilter has a lot of display preferences and there are differences among them. One difference is how to post a new question or make a new post from mobile.

On Modern theme Mobile view, the New post/New question link should be under the "person icon" menu at the top right.

On Classic or Plain theme Mobile view, there is no New post/New question function. There are two options if you're in Classic Mobile:
- switch to Modern theme temporarily in your Preferences page on your device, post your question, and then switch back to Classic. (These preferences are set per-device, so it won't switch your preference on your computer.)
- switch to the Standard (i.e. non-mobile) view of the site temporarily by using the link at the very bottom of the page, post your question, and then switch back to Classic Mobile by clicking this link: mobile.metafilter.com
(tags: ) October 27, 2021 - permalink - back to questions

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

It's MeFi shorthand for a moment of respectful 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 - 12 hours
AskMetafilter - no limit
FanFare - no limit
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?

There are two ways to make a link: type it in, or use the automated buttons.

To type it in: 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 phrase</em>
which shows as: italicized phrase

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

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 that look like they're being posted by others.

Using the buttons: 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.

Here's a short video showing how to use the buttons to insert HTML.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

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

Sometimes. Most threads will 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.

IRL threads and some Ask Metafilter threads, once deleted, are no longer accessible at all. If you have questions about a thread you think was deleted on these subsites, please Contact Us and we can clarify. Also, threads on other subsites are sometimes completely removed due to privacy reasons.

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 Us 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

What are self-links? Are self-links ever okay on any part of the site?

"Self-links" are links to your own site, or your own work, or a site that you host or contribute to substantially, or to a site of someone who is a client or business partner, or a site/event/cause you're promoting either professionally or as any kind of quid pro quo.

It is never okay to include a self-link in a front page post you make on Metafilter's community blog. People who self-link in the post text of front page posts on MetaFilter will have their posts removed and their account banned. It is never okay to use MetaFilter as a promotional tool. Transparency and honesty are important to the community and we rely on users to abide by the guidelines and participate honestly.

On Ask MetaFilter, questions that seem to be thinly veiled promotion or self-promotion will be removed. Questions that seem to be being asked with the intent to promote a poster's product or service, or client/friend's product or service, will be removed and the participating accounts banned. If you are unsure about a specific example, please contact us.

Linking to your own site in an Ask MetaFilter question is only okay if it has something specific to do with the question being asked and is necessary for people to provide an answer, for example "Can you look at my logo and tell me why everyone thinks it looks like a devil?" or "What else do I need to do to this website to make it ADA compliant?" (Even then, an extra-safe move is to link your site on your profile page and tell people they can see it by going through your profile.) Other self-links will be removed. AskMe posts that look like link-heavy MeFi posts or other promotional posts with a question tacked to the end of it are not okay.

In comments, in well-defined circumstances, self-links can be okay. Including a link to your own site in a Metafilter comment is okay provided that it has some relevance to the topic being discussed, and you clearly disclose your affiliation to the site or site-owner, and this type of comment is not your only form of site participation. Random off-topic insertions of self-links into other posts are discouraged and such links may be removed and result in a ban. Similarly, linking to your own content in AskMe answers is okay to do occasionally and with disclosure. People who seem to be self-linking continually, or seemingly with spammy intent may have their content removed and their account banned.

It is perfectly okay--even encouraged--to put a link to your own site in your profile, to post your own music to Music, post your web projects to Projects, and to post a job for your organization or post your own job availability in Jobs.

We've lifted the long-time prohibition on friend-linking, i.e. making MetaFilter posts about work that's not your own but which is by someone you have a friendship with or personal connection to. Any such posts still need to be fundamentally good MetaFilter posts in their own right, and to not be posted with promotional or "this will help my friend out" intent. In short, it needs to be something that you unambiguously would have chosen to post even if you didn't know that person at all. See this MetaTalk thread for more detail.
(tags: ) May 10, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

How do I create the [more inside] jump when posting?

The break and the "more inside" text are created for you automatically after you fill in the posting page form. There are several boxes to fill in when posting. On Mefi, the title and the box called "Description" will form the part above the fold (before the "more inside") which appears on the main page; the "Extended description" forms the part below the fold (after the "more inside") which appears after a person has clicked on your post.

On AskMe, the question title and the box called "your question" will be the part that appears on the main page; keep this part brief. The next box called "extended explanation" will be the [more inside] part of your question and can be longer. Again, the words "more inside" will automatically be added to the end of your question.

In both cases, if you don't put anything in the extended description/extended explanation box, then the words [more inside] will not be added.
(tags: ) July 21, 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. If you want to fix an error or have your post removed, you have to have a moderator do it, please ask us via the Contact Us Form.

Please do not post a question to Ask Metafilter assuming you can have it removed once it has been answered. There is an Anonymous option if you want to ask a question not linked to your own profile. You can find that option on the numbered list of the AskMetafilter posting page.
(tags: ) August 22, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

Why are some people's answers in AskMe highlighted in their own box?

This is what it looks like when the original question asker highlights a best answer. Best answers are chosen by the original asker of the question. A question can have multiple best answers. The answers can be either the "right" answer or answers that the asker found useful in some way. When an answer is marked as a best answer it's highlighted in its own box on the AskMe question page and the user with the best answer sees a check mark next to the question on their list of answers off their profile page. There is also a green check mark next to the question on the main AskMe page.
(tags: ) November 10, 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. Some profile page information is visible to humans on the wider internet, it's just not indexed by search engines. See here for details.

Bringing WHOIS and other personal information into a thread [i.e. "Here's this guy's phone number!"] is also not okay. We know it's still one click away, but bringing it into a thread can cause trouble for the site. When in doubt, please feel free to ask a mod.
(tags: ) August 20, 2009 - permalink - back to questions

How do I mark my question as "answered" (e.g. green check mark)?

Once you've selected a comment or comments as a best answer by clicking on the "Mark as best answer" link next to a comment, your AskMe question will show up with a green check mark on the main page. It's fine to choose best answers whenever you want, but some people may see your question as "answered"if you choose best answers early.
(tags: ) December 29, 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 Us 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 Us 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

How do I comment anonymously?

There is no anonymous comment function. If you want to add something to a thread but want it to remain unconnected to your account, you can use the Contact Us form to reach the moderators, and one of them can add it for you. (If instead you want to ask an anonymous question on Ask Metafilter, the procedure is here.)
(tags: ) December 11, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

My post or comment got an error that begins "Your comment includes the word [x]" and I can't post it.

There are some words that are not permitted on Metafilter. If you get this error, rewrite your text so it does not include the word, or, if you're quoting, blank out all or part of that word before posting.

You can see the list of banned words here (content warning: slurs). If you think a particular word should be added to the list, please contact us.
(tags: ) January 14, 2013 - permalink - back to questions

How do I include a picture or photo with my AskMe question?

AskMetafilter does not host images, so there is no way to upload a picture directly to AskMe. Instead, you must upload your picture to another site and then link to it from AskMe. You can post the image on your own website, or use one of the many free image hosting services that will allow you to upload an image - such as Flickr, imgur, etc. Once you upload your image, copy its URL and link to it from your AskMe question.
(tags: ) February 15, 2013 - permalink - back to questions

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

Similar to the single dot, the asterisk also signifies a moment of silence for an individual's passing, but notes that the person had problematic elements in their history. It is usually used in obituary threads and was first proposed within one.
(tags: ) June 13, 2023 - 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

Should I use an URL shortener or link shortener, like I would on Twitter?

Please don't. There's no length limit here, and it's better if people can see what they're clicking on. Mods will expand short URLs when they see them. There is a difference, however, between site-specific URL shorteners like youtu.be and nytim.es and link shortening sites such as is.gs and j.mp, where the former is okay if not preferred while the latter is something we'd prefer people avoid. People who use link shorteners as a way of sketchily hiding affiliate codes may risk having their account banned.
(tags: ) July 25, 2011 - permalink - back to questions

Can I choose to see only posts or questions with certain tags or in certain categories?

Yes. This is what MyMefi and MyAsk do. See here for more details.
(tags: ) December 10, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

What is My MeFi? What is My Ask?

My MeFi (a tab on the Metafilter front page), and My Ask (a tab on the AskMetafilter page), are customizable views of the sites. For both, you can choose tags or categories you are interested in, and then the My MeFi or My Ask tab will show you only the posts or questions related to the subjects you chose. You can also exclude posts or questions according to tags/categories you choose, and My MeFi or My Ask will show you a view of the site with those posts or questions removed.

To get started, go to either tab, and it will have a link to your Preferences page where you can set up which tags and categories you're interested in. For example, you could set up a MeFi page that only shows you posts about art and food, or a version of AskMe that includes everything but relationship questions. You can always change your preferences later, too.

Fair warning: tagging is not automated. Filtering by tags depends to some extent on how consistent posters are in tagging their posts.
(tags: ) December 10, 2012 - 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 "flag with note..." option to leave a brief explanation, or use the contact form to go into more detail.

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

Are posts or comments edited by mods?

Post or comments are not edited for content. Sometimes a post or comment will be edited for these reasons

- at the request of the poster, for minor reasons
- fixing a broken link
- fixing a typo or broken HTML
- putting a NSFW or other content warning indicator in
- moving part of a long post to a "more inside" location
- AskMe posts where the only question is in the title
- adding tags
- removing personal information [ex: whois records, email addresses] that is against the guidelines
- removing a gratuitous self-link in an otherwise okay post or comment
(tags: ) May 3, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

Why was my Ask MetaFilter post/comment removed?

Ask MetaFilter has more strict guidelines than MetaFilter. If an Ask MetaFilter thread is removed, there will be a reason for deletion at the old URL for the question. If you posted a question that disappeared, check your Mefi Mail for an automated New Post message that includes the URL of the question. Go to that URL and you'll be able to see why the question was deleted.

Ask MetaFilter questions should have a purpose or a problem to be solved. Please do not try to jam multiple questions into a single question, a few related questions in one post are fine.

Common reasons for thread removal are chatfilter questions, open-ended hypothetical questions, Op/Ed framing, rants posing as questions, questions asking how to do things that are illegal or borderline illegal, questions about suicide, questions about how to get revenge, questions asking for detailed personal/private information, reader poll/survey-type questions, requests for favors or soliciting interviewees, "why does X suck/not suck?" questions, and nonsense questions. Please do not Ask MetaFilter to do your homework for you. If you are feeling suicidal, please seek in-person help. MetaFilter has compiled a list of resources to assist you.

Ask MetaFilter comments should address the main question being asked. Common reasons for comment removal are wisecracks, derailing/ranting/axegrinding, picking a fight with or heavy chastising of the question asker, debating/chatting/arguing with other commenters, single word posts (yes, no, DTMFA &c.) and other non-answers that should probably be brought to MetaTalk. While it's okay to ask follow-up questions to the original asker, piggybacking questions [asking your own related question within someone else's AskMe] will often be removed.
(tags: ) September 10, 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 Carbon. 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

What does 'threadsitting' mean? What does 'threadshitting' mean?

Threadsitting is when a user assumes a proprietary approach to a thread and becomes the person through which all thread discussion happens. This can be when one person has an oppositional stance on a topic and demands the other participants satisfy their repeated questioning. It can also occur when an AskMe querent responds to all comments in their thread or asks a number of follow-up questions. Making a thread "all about you" in a variety of ways is discouraged and sometimes mods will step in to please ask people to not threadsit so that everyone can join in the discussion. In general, we require that AskMe updates from the asker be a) relatively few and b) focused on clarifying the original question as necessary, rather than discussing the answers as they come up.

Threadshitting is either early snark, noise, "who cares" or joke comments in a newish MeFi thread or someone repeatedly making off-topic or noise comments in a thread often as a way of derailing discussion. Early threadshitting comments are frequently deleted.
(tags: ) October 26, 2011 - permalink - back to questions

Who owns the copyright on MetaFilter content?

On the footer of every MetaFilter page is: © 1999-2023 MetaFilter LLC. 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 wholesale 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

Someone made a official-seeming comment in small type, with square brackets. What does that mean?

It is probably a comment by a moderator. See here for details.
(tags: ) December 15, 2012 - permalink - back to questions