9 FAQ tagged with etiquette

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

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. As of 2014, MetaTalk posts are queued before they go live. Most posts will be approved but sometimes we want to postpone heated threads until there are enough moderators around, and occasionally we'll directly email the poster to answer their question etc.

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 Us 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

Should I include an NSFW warning if my link is not safe for work? What about spoilers?

Generally if what is behind a link is not safe for work (porn, nudity, shock sites, sound) a NSFW indicator is appreciated. Admins will sometimes add NSFW to links, especially front page posts, if the poster doesn't include them. The same is true for spoilers -- posts that indicate the ending of a book, movie, sporting event etc -- please try to be polite and include them inside the thread or a [more inside] section rather than in the post itself. Mods do not police spoilers on the site except to try to keep them off the front pages of the subsites. You can use the details tag as explained in this MeTa thread.

Do not assume that all content that isn't safe for work browsing will be labeled as such. There are always instances where the NSFW indicator is missing. The same is true for spoilers; admins will try to tuck them inside a post but otherwise do not alter or edit posts. When browsing, it is safest to consider the NSFW tag and the spoiler indication a favor performed by the admins and posters, rather than an expectation or obligation. ROT-13, while a great way to avoid spoilers, is problematic for a large diverse community -- e.g. it's inaccessible for visually impaired people using screen readers -- so we generally ask people to avoid using it.

MetaFilter should not be considered a NSFW-free or a spoiler-free zone.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

Should I add a [via] link if I found it from another site?

No. Many people do this as a courtesy, but it is in no way mandatory. Adding a [via] comment to someone else's post is often considered rude and/or annoying.
(tags: ) April 23, 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

Should I include a trigger warning or content warning about upsetting content in my post?

We ask people to try to be considerate of others when posting about upsetting or graphic content. This means giving readers enough of a heads-up through the wording of your post that readers who want to avoid particular subjects can do that. There is no requirement to use any specific phrasing such as "trigger warning" to do this; it is often more useful to readers just to use normal words to identify the subject matter of the post so readers can make informed choices.

People who have severe reactions to certain content should know that in general, MetaFilter does not try to be a "safe space". We ask posters to try to be courteous, but there is no hard-and-fast policing of links or warnings.
(tags: ) December 13, 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

What do "Links to" and "Linked by" mean on my profile page? What does it mean if someone has called me a crush, or muse, or spouse?

This profile area contains lists of your contacts. See here for more details.

About the relationship terms, do not be alarmed. The system allows a person to select a "relationship" label when they add you as a contact, and sometimes people add jokey labels. Crush or muse generally means someone liked a comment or post of yours. There is no obligation to be reciprocal with people who make you a contact.
(tags: ) December 13, 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