That’s so Meta!

May 4, 2010 Hardware, Meta, Site News — Kyle

We discourage discussion about iFixit in our Answers site. Why? Because people who come to Answers are looking for help with hardware troubleshooting. They don’t want to hear about our community policy for helping people reset their passwords, or have to sift through new feature requests. They just want to learn about hardware! Like Fight Club, the golden rule on iFixit is to not talk about iFixit.

Online communities run into this problem all the time. The die-hard, dedicated members want (and need) to talk about how to get better at what they do, and how to make the community better. But it’s also important not to intermingle this discussion with questions from regular users.

Our favorite meta mug. Thanks for letting us help you help others!

We’ve used UserVoice for feedback in the past, but it doesn’t allow discussion in a way we find particularly engaging, and it doesn’t integrate nicely with our single-iFixit login. So we’re going to use the same software we use for Answers! Today, we are launching meta.ifixit.com. Why meta? Our dictionary defines the prefix “meta-” as “denoting a change of position or condition,” and we think that’s exactly right. We want to continue moving our community and content forward, constantly evolving to get better at helping people fix things. Meta is going to be the place where we, as a community, decide how to evolve.

We have a few ideas for things we want to do on Meta. You may have some more. Think of this as a brainstormed list of ways we can all brainstorm together. How Meta!

  • Discuss new feature ideas, software changes, and report bugs. We’re hoping this will be the perfect place to interact with the software development team behind iFixit.
  • Document the details of our platform. We’ve rolled out a tremendous number of new features lately, and we need a place to keep you in the loop on how everything works.
  • Request content and discuss development of future content. I really want someone to write a Super Nintendo repair guide. It’s the only major gaming console for which we don’t already have a repair manual!
  • Set community policy. We don’t control iFixit, and Meta will give us an open, democratic forum to discuss and set policies.
  • Make decisions about content organization. Users with moderator privileges can make bulk device changes, like changing MBP 15″ to MacBook Pro 15″, and Meta will be a good place to request changes like this.
  • Have a little bit of fun. Not too much, mind you. But if we’re all not enjoying helping people fix things, then we’re doing it wrong.
  • Discuss our mission. It’s important to learn each other’s background and talk about why we all do what we do.

We have made a few changes to our Answers engine to support Meta. We have a new ‘discussion’ mode that you can set on questions. Discussion topics ‘opt out’ of our reputation system, so votes on questions and answers don’t impact your reputation. Reputation earned on meta is completely separate from reputation on the main site.

How do we organize Meta?

Tags. Every thread can have up to four tags, and we’ll use these to categorize questions. Tags will be much more important on Meta than they are on Answers, because (obviously) threads can’t be organized by device.

What Meta is not for:

iFixit support. As we’ve done with Answers, we’ll keep routing sales support questions to our customer service team and removing them from the public site.

Software troubleshooting. There are better sites out there for software problems. We’re staying focused on our core mission: Making hardware work longer.

Postscript

Once again, we are hugely influenced by those who have gone before us. In this case, iFixit Meta is 100% inspired by StackOverflow Meta. Thanks to Jeff and all the folks who have contributed to make Stack Overflow awesome!

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