Yes, just use this link and fill in your friend's email address. They will be able to choose their own handle once they register. The invitation will include your MetaFilter username and a link to your member profile so they know who gave them the gift. (tags: metafiltergiftaccountspaypal ) November 16, 2006 - 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).
Pepsi Blue has become a sort of catch-all catcall for something that's a possible shill posting on MetaFilter - that is, an ad or product endorsement for reasons other than just overall consumer joy. The reason why Pepsi Blue was chosen had to do with the large number of bloggers who seemed to pay special notice of the Pepsi Blue launch, including this post on MetaFilter.
Many MetaFilter members are suspicious of posts (and to a lesser extent, comments) that appear to endorse a (usually new) product or service. If you do want to make a post recommending a product, it is a good idea that you shouldn't have a special interest, financial or otherwise, in the product. Even if you don't, you should still be prepared to face some probing questions in the thread. There are ad sites out there already where such posts might be better received. (tags: pepsiblueadslingometafilter ) March 30, 2006 - permalink - back to questions
My Mefi post or AskMe question was edited to remove my cute "more inside" play on words, wtf?
The "more inside" words don't appear when people read Mefi or AskMe via RSS. As a result when you end your question with "as always there's..." it makes no sense to people reading via RSS. 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: moreinsideaskmeeditingaskmetafiltermetafilter ) October 18, 2007 - permalink - back to questions
How can I check if something has been posted before, to avoid double posting?
The New Post form will automatically check for you. Just enter the URL and click "Preview."
For better searching, leave off everything but the domain name -- no "http," no "www" and no directory or html suffix information. This makes it more likely the search will catch a double.
You can also plug a URL into the Search box on any page, or search in Google by pasting the URL into Google along with this string: site:www.metafilter.com (tags: doublepostURLsearchmetafilterlink ) January 25, 2013 - permalink - back to questions
Can I post a fundraiser, or a petition for a worthy cause?
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
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.
Here's a short screencast showing how to use the buttons to insert HTML for you:
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.
Can I post a link to just a short news bulletin if there's a breaking news story?
There are very rare cases where this is appropriate, usually large scale disasters (like once-in-a-lifetime events). Updates to the latest political intrigue do not qualify. Generally speaking, if a breaking story isn't linked on the Internet yet, it won't make a very good post. If you're posting it thinking, "I'd better hurry before someone else posts this" — then it's probably not a good post. (tags: breakingnewsnewsfiltermetafilter ) March 6, 2006 - 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.
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, and the admins cannot be expected to catch every single one of them and fix it. The same is true for spoilers, which the admins will try to tuck inside a post but otherwise do not alter or edit. 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 and should probably be avoided when possible.
What is double posting? Is there a statute of limitations on double posting?
A double post is when someone posts something to the front page of MetaFilter (or sometimes MetaTalk) that has been there before.
There is no hard and fast rule on when a post is not a double anymore. For an identical URL and a site that hasn't changed in content "a few years" is a good guideline. For a site with the same URL and new content, indicating the previous post in your new post is a good idea. If there is a post on a similar topic still on the front page, please post your link into the open thread instead of starting a new post.
With few exceptions, there is no such thing as a doublepost in AskMe although users should generally search prior questions before posting to determine whether a very similar question has already been asked and answered. (tags: doublepostlinkURLmetafilterflag ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions
Why was my MetaFilter post deleted?
When a thread is deleted, it is closed to new comments and is removed from the front page but can still be viewed at the permanent URL for the thread. There is a brief "reason for deletion" given when a MetaFilter thread is removed. The most common reasons are:
- double-post - the exact link or one linking to nearly the same content has already been posted
- self-link or friends-link - you posted something to MetaFilter that is on your own site or that you contributed heavily towards, or that your friend made, or that you're involved in promoting
- newsfilter - you posted a link to a news article without creating a post that would lead to good discussion
- axegrindfilter - you posted on a hot-button topic that you frequently post about and/or used heavy-handed editorializing language.
- broken link - you posted a link to something that is no longer available on the web
- stunt post - you were doing something cutesy or pointed with your post that was making some sort of statement, not linking to something neat on the web
- fundraising/promotion - you linked to a "sign my petition" or fundraising link [Kickstarter, indiegogo]
According to the guidelines page "A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others." Posts shouldn't be terribly long, and they don't have to contain multiple links or end with a discussion-sparking question. The Best Post of the Day contest from August 2006 contains many examples of a wide variety of good MetaFilter posts. (tags: fppmetafilterposts ) April 20, 2006 - permalink - back to questions
Should I add a [via] link if I found it from another site?
What are self-links? Are self-links ever okay on any part of the site?
"Self-links" are links to your own site, to a site that you host or contribute to substantially, or to a site of someone who is a client, friend or relative of yours, or a site/event/cause you're promoting. Some more detail is in this MetaTalk comment.
It is never okay to include a self-link in a front page post on Metafilter's community blog. People who self-link in 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. 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.
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.
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.
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 < into < however, so before you post, you have to re-type things like angle brackets into their < format. We are aware that this is a less-than-perfect solution. (tags: htmllivepreviewcommentsmetafilteraskmemetatalk ) October 17, 2006 - permalink - back to questions
If my post has more than one link, or the link isn't first, do I need to use the URL box?
The "URL" and "Link title" fields are there for your convenience. If you have a one link post you can just fill them in and go. If you want to make a post with a few links, or without the beginning text as your link, you can skip those boxes (but don't skip the title box) and just write the HTML for the links in the post yourself. (tags: htmlpostfpplinkmetafilter ) January 11, 2007 - permalink - back to questions
Can I post a link to something behind a free registration?
Generally speaking, no. Things that you link to should be freely available on the web. This means no registration (use the NYTimes link generator for NYT articles) even if there is a handy workaround using bugmenot. This goes for double for links behind reasonably prevalent pay walls (Chronicle of Higher Education, JSTOR content, etc); try to make sure your link is available for everyone before you put it on MetaFilter. (tags: registrationpaywallnewyorktimesmetafilter ) March 27, 2007 - 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: profileetiquetteprivacymetafilteraskmetafiltermetatalkaskme ) August 20, 2009 - permalink - back to questions
Why was my MetaFilter comment deleted?
MetaFilter is a lightly moderated site and we prefer if users can work out their differences on their own. We encourage discussion and debate. However there are some types of comments that are either toxic to discussion or disallowed on the site entirely that may get removed by moderators. A few reasons comments may be removed are
- Spamming. Adding off-topic, context-free, or SEO-laden comments with undisclosed links to your own or others' sites.
- Threadshitting. Early dismissive or "Who cares" comments that add nothing to the discussion.
- Attacks on or interrogation of other users. This includes outing of personal information from profile pages or other sites.
- Threats against other people or against oneself. Suicide threats or "Someone should shoot that guy in the head" or "I hope he gets raped to death in prison" comments create problems for the site.
- Comments about moderation. These need to be in MetaTalk or sent through the contact form, they do not go on MetaFilter. This includes metadiscussion of flagging, comment deletions, and whether a post should be deleted or not.
- Racist or otherwise hateful comments. This specifically includes misgendering and ironic racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia; people who sarcastically put on a racist voice to make a point about racism, or who make "She was asking for it" jokes (assuming everyone should know they are joking) cause thread derails and make discussion difficult.
- Making a thread all about you. MetaFilter is a large community and discussion threads are for everyone. Please do not make a thread all about your own opinions and ideas at the expense of other people trying to have a discussion.
- Trolling. If your behavior is indistinguishable from trolling, you may be treated as a troll. If you need to call someone out as a troll, go to MetaTalk please.
Occasionally a comment will be removed which then leaves a bunch of other comments responding to it just hanging there and these will sometimes get removed as well even though there is no problem with them. Mods use their own discretion and the input of the flagging queue to help guide those decisions. If you have a question about a comment removal, please use the contact form to ask about it. The MetaFilter comment deletion rate is about 1%. Most people never have a comment deleted. (tags: deletedcommentsdeletionMeFimetafiltermoderation ) March 5, 2012 - 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.
Should I include a trigger 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.
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: linkslinkshortenersshortlinkmetafilteraskmetafilteraskme ) July 25, 2011 - permalink - back to questions
Can I choose to see only posts or questions with certain tags or in certain categories?
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.
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. (tags: askmemymefimyaskcustomviewsmetafilteraskmetafilter ) 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 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.
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: modsMetaFilteradminsmoderationaskmetafiltermetatalkfanfareprojectsirljobschataskmemusic ) March 20, 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 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 from a post [ex: whois records, email addresses] that is against the guidelines
- removing a gratuitous self-link in an otherwise okay post or comment (tags: editingcommentspostsmetafilteraskmetafilteraskme ) May 3, 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.
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.