29 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 users or mods 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.

MetaFilter has limited ability to control harassment of MeFi members offsite, though if you believe that harassment is being committed by a MeFi member, please let us know.
(tags: ) June 4, 2012 - 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.
(tags: ) October 26, 2019 - 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 reports 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. 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

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

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

How do I link to a specific comment?

Every comment has a permalink associated with it. If you're on a desktop or laptop, click on the timestamp on a comment, the URL that shows in your browser's address bar is the permanent link to that comment.

On mobile, the timestamp is still the permalink, but the URL may or may not appear, depending on what OS you're using.
(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. 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

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. 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 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

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 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

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

Meetups are when people who know each other from MetaFilter (or just have an interest in MetaFilter in common!) get together in real life. These In Real Life (IRL) meetings are usually pretty informal, and happen all over the world. The IRL.metafilter.com is a subsite specifically 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 geographic coordinates for yourself. You can set your geographic coordinates with this lookup.
(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 "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

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 Us form. It will reach whoever is on shift; this is the quickest way to get most problems resolved. When you use the Contact Us form, an email is sent to all of the admins, and whoever is working will respond. Note, the response will go to your email address, not to MeFi Mail.

In general, if your request is time-sensitive, don't use MeFi Mail. The person you're MeFi Mailing may have gone off duty and be unavailable. Admins sometimes make MeFi Mail inactive when they're not available to handle site issues, as well. The Contact Us form will almost always get a faster response.
(tags: ) March 6, 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

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: © 1999-2023 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