meetups subsite September 7, 2006 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Now that we have all these nifty subsites, how about a new one, devoted entirely to meetups of mefi folks? (meetup.metafilter.com?)

The current solution, having them mixed in with callouts, bugs and general griping is (I think) insufficient. Many people who would be interested, don't even know they exist. They scroll off the page fast, and organizing is a painful process.
posted by vacapinta to Feature Requests at 12:07 PM (62 comments total)

Agreed!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:12 PM on September 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Anyone want to mock up or at least explain how a meetups site would work? It seems like it could suffer the same problems (new items scrolling off, having to remind people before a certain date) if it was just a clone of metatalk.

Also, what if established, organized meetups were all handled through Upcoming? Then the reminders and updates stuff is taken care of (even the mapping now).

The front page sidebar of MetaTalk could show upcoming meetups that are on Upcoming's site, complete with everyone that is attending and everyone that is thinking about it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:15 PM on September 7, 2006


I'm up for any idea that will separate meetups out to their own section, while still keeping them tied to the site.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:20 PM on September 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


We'd need to have some calendar (attendees/invitations) and location (mapping, events within a certain distance) for it to really take off. Whether that can be done via Upcoming, another system, or something home-spun, it probably matters not very much in terms of the tech.

But however it's done, it will have to be well-integrated: at Upcoming, for example, a few non-Mefi events get listed on the Mefi group, and hardly any of the Mefi events get listed there.
posted by mcwetboy at 12:20 PM on September 7, 2006


I think using Upcoming is a better idea.
posted by chunking express at 12:20 PM on September 7, 2006


The biggest feature a meetups-only page could include, Matt, is keeping local meetups on the front page. I clearly live within two miles of downtown Boston. It would be a damn shame if the Boston meetup discussion got pushed off MeetFi because Juneau or Tripoli or -- god forbid -- New York were planning something. I'm not sure how you're doing it on Jobs, but tagging a meetup post with a location in a similar way would probably be fairly simple.
posted by Plutor at 12:21 PM on September 7, 2006


chunking express: Upcoming isn't really made for the planning of tentative events. It's more for the publicizing of fairly-definite planned events.
posted by Plutor at 12:22 PM on September 7, 2006


The meetups page could use the same map-interface as the jobs site. What might be nice would be flags of differing colors depending on how close the meetup was (violet for seven or more days in the future, red for today). They'd stay on the map until the date came and then they'd fall off automatically (but the threads would still be archived). Maybe you could even make a sidebar for followups (post your photos HERE, with 'here' a link to the original thread).

What would be nice is a way to condense all the subsites on the upper-right hand corner. Maybe a color bar with a two letter abbreviation (MF, MT, AM, MM, MJ, MP).
posted by Eideteker at 12:28 PM on September 7, 2006


- Front page would be a chronological list of upcoming meetups—organized one-or-two line listing of vital stats with no free text field displayed. User fills in fields (date, geo location, street address, etc), and the meetup goes in the chrono list. Allow for compact form factor and easily parsable page.

- Meetup creator would maintain list information—they'd be able to update those fixed fields for changing dates and what not.

- "More Inside" would allow for free text section akin to what we usually see in a meetup announcement on metatalk. Full comment thread as per normal, to allow hashing out of details and the eventual followup posts of pictures and such.

- TBA as a date choice, with a sidebar (as well as a specific page) listing TBA meetups—this could serve both as a reference for dickering of an actively-developing meetup and as a standing invite section.

- Maybe a geo map like that on Jobs, for a quick peek at the current meetup layout.

- Headline the page with any meetups coming up inside the next week. Perhaps run a super-summarized meetup sidebar in Metatalk mirroring this info, at least for the first stretch of the launch of Meetups, while people acclimate.
posted by cortex at 12:28 PM on September 7, 2006


Oh, and a white flag would do for events without definite dates. So it would basically mean "hey, look, come vote on when you'd like this meetup to be!"
posted by Eideteker at 12:29 PM on September 7, 2006


could we also have a site where we trade recipes?
posted by troybob at 12:37 PM on September 7, 2006


I don't get it. There's a meetup link in the sidebar of the brown which displays only upcoming meetups.

What ever happened to the MeFi personals subsite idea?
posted by dobbs at 12:40 PM on September 7, 2006


I like most of cortex's idea, but I disagree a bit about the very structured front page. Most meet-ups start as a general idea, not a bunch of specifics, so that would be very limiting. Some small amount of more free form text is likely to be needed or every original post will look like 'Toronto. TBA. TBA. TBA' 'New York. TBA. TBA. TBA'

Also, though it's implied in his suggestions, I think the main posting would need to be editable by the original poster - because dates and times and locations do change as things get discussed.

And the proximity map on jobs would be way spiffy for meet-ups.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:42 PM on September 7, 2006


How about something more simple?

Have an additional section in the metatalk post form for meet-ups -- all you would need is an address and date field.

Then add a section in your profile that says there are meet-ups near you happening on whatever dates.

That way all you need to do is check your profile for upcoming meet-ups.
posted by empath at 12:48 PM on September 7, 2006


Upcoming seems to be a good solution, provided it's integrated into the MeTa front page in an easily--and obviously--accessible way.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:50 PM on September 7, 2006


CALL IT MEET.FI

OR MEAT.FI (IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!!!)
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 1:02 PM on September 7, 2006


All these add-ons are swallowing the site whole.

(actually I just wanted to post that link)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:03 PM on September 7, 2006


when do we get wifeswap.metafilter.com
posted by Megafly at 1:04 PM on September 7, 2006


Can we swap wives for recipes?
posted by briank at 1:16 PM on September 7, 2006


when do we get wifeswap.metafilter.com

as soon as Matt can swing it
posted by cortex at 1:17 PM on September 7, 2006


cortex writes "when do we get wifeswap.metafilter.com

"as soon as Matt can swing it"


*snort*
posted by chiababe at 1:21 PM on September 7, 2006


why just wives?....i'll trade my easy refrigerator quiche and my grandma's pumpkin-pecan pie for a jonmc...
posted by troybob at 1:24 PM on September 7, 2006


What I'd like to see is a way to email everyone within say 10/25/50/100 kms of a pending meet up. Make it opt-in in our preferences. Right now if you want to alert people who don't read Meta you need to labourously trawl the user pages of users close to you for email addresses. Not too bad for Calgary but probably a real chore for NYC.

empath writes "Have an additional section in the metatalk post form for meet-ups -- all you would need is an address and date field."

Problem is many meet ups don't start with a time or place, the upcoming Calgary meet up is a classic example.
posted by Mitheral at 1:31 PM on September 7, 2006


I like most of cortex's idea, but I disagree a bit about the very structured front page. Most meet-ups start as a general idea, not a bunch of specifics, so that would be very limiting. Some small amount of more free form text is likely to be needed or every original post will look like 'Toronto. TBA. TBA. TBA' 'New York. TBA. TBA. TBA'

Yeah, that's the biggest problem I see with my original notion—there are two fundamental stages in meetup, pre-date and post-date. And while some meetups would start with a very specific date—ludwig_van announces a show his band is playing as venue/time for a meetup, say—many would be "hey, Portland, when ya wanna get drunk" or such.

In mentioning the specific structure, I was thinking of the look of the meetups-that-are-happening aspect of the page: keeping that very tightly organized. Something like this, say:

upcoming meetups

Portland, OR, USA ~ June 12, 2009 ~ Carl's Hothouse ~ 7:30pm ~ details
London, UK ~ June 14, 2009 ~ Princess Dive Bar and Grill ~ 9:00pm ~ details
Fargo, ND, USA ...

So that there'd be a very tight at-a-glance index at the top of the page, at least, un-muck-up-able by great big paragraphs of "lets have a meetup" rambling. Said rambling would be contained within a more inside.

But that could be the top two or three inches of the main page, followed by, perhaps, "recently proposed" meetups for the TBA stuff that lacks firm dates. Some way of managing meaningful front-page indexes for both cases, along with map or sidebar listings to provide a more complete index of everything pending. (And archives for past meetups.)

I also really like the suggestion someone made of highlighting, one way or another, any pending meetups within X miles of a user's specified location, if any. X could even (Matt willing) be a user setting, so someone in a sparsely-represented country could set their net a bit wider than someone living in a big city, for example.
posted by cortex at 1:35 PM on September 7, 2006


Problem is many meet ups don't start with a time or place, the upcoming Calgary meet up is a classic example.

Well in that case, you just put the city and the month and change it later.
posted by empath at 1:39 PM on September 7, 2006


A drop-down menu can solve this issue.

"Post as:
-tentative meetup
-date/time confirmed"

Tentatives get a white flag on the map interface. They can either be locked as definite (which grants them an automatic bump to the top of the page) or reposted (in which case it's nice to close your original tentative request, which should automatically expire and drop off the map in 14 or 30 days anyway).

Oh well, I thought my idea was really good. Guess I'm the only one!
posted by Eideteker at 1:45 PM on September 7, 2006


butts
lol

posted by rhapsodie at 1:50 PM on September 7, 2006


Add a lat/long field to the metatalk posting page when you choose the MeFi gatherings category. Show an alert about it to everyone within range when they next view any page on MeFi. The alert would show on every page you viewed until you cancel it or click the link, so you don't accidentally miss it.

(implementation wise, you'd attach the alert to every relevant user's account when the MeTa post is made, so you don't have to search for nearby meetups on every page load)
posted by cillit bang at 4:26 PM on September 7, 2006


But isn't the current issue with meetups that those who don't actively go looking for them (say, on a specific section/tag on the site) don't know about them?

I don't know if setting up another partitioned area would really help with that, or whether it would just give a clearer space for those who already avidly read MeTa and check the "meetups" category.
posted by hugsnkisses at 5:38 PM on September 7, 2006


Plus, if you had a dateMeFi/meetFi/etc., we'd have a much better answer to this question.
posted by echo0720 at 5:41 PM on September 7, 2006


Uh, that was in reference to the people who were talking about a dating site, not the meetups
posted by echo0720 at 5:42 PM on September 7, 2006


Very elegant cillit bang.
posted by Mitheral at 5:55 PM on September 7, 2006


But isn't the current issue with meetups that those who don't actively go looking for them (say, on a specific section/tag on the site) don't know about them?

That's what my suggestion is meant to fix. It alerts active MeFi users that there's a meetup being discussed for their area.
posted by cillit bang at 7:28 PM on September 7, 2006


Show an alert about it to everyone within range when they next view any page on MeFi. The alert would show on every page you viewed until you cancel it or click the link, so you don't accidentally miss it.

It needs to be flashing with "You may have already been invited to a MeFi Meetup!!!"
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 8:22 PM on September 7, 2006



posted by Plutor at 4:58 AM on September 8, 2006 [7 favorites]


Am I the only one who thinks these proposed solutions are all worse than the original problem?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:51 AM on September 8, 2006


Judging from some of the comments, you may be the only one that actually thinks...
posted by blue_beetle at 6:56 AM on September 8, 2006


No, CL, you aren't.

I don't want a fancy map, because I don't really care where else people are having meetups. I don't want another page to visit. If people want to go to meetups, they'll look at MeTa or the filtered out meetup page. If they don't, then they don't want to go very badly and will live if they miss one. And New Yorkers don't trawl people's pages to invite them to meetups: there are enough of us that plenty of people will see the freakin' announcement and email their friends who might miss it.
posted by dame at 7:21 AM on September 8, 2006


And of course catering to the New Yorkers should be part of every MetaFilter design change.

I think the map would be a nice interface for where people are meeting, especially if you're travelling and want to see if there's a meetup happening where you're going, but I could see where it could be overkill. It just seems like Matt has already built a mapping thing into jobs so it's probably relatively easy to port over to MUFi rather than building some new way of demonstrating proximity.

I do think it would be nice to make easier for people to find out about meetups. I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of Mefites (even those from New York) have no idea there are meetups, never mind how to find out about them - because most Mefites don't read MetaTalk regularly. The idea of some easy way to draw people's attention to meetups near them would broaden the audience for the meetups. Relying on people to check MetaTalk every day for meetups that happen in their area maybe every few months, maybe once a year, maybe only ever once, is kind of silly, no? That may work for New York's meetups every couple of weeks, but there's nowhere else that even comes close to that volume.

Whether that's an opt-in email on the profile or a small alert on the site or even a sidebar on the main page with upcoming meetups sorted by proximity to the user, something that lets them know about it without having to jump through hoops would be great.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:51 AM on September 8, 2006


You'd be best going for a calendar view with month to month navigation. Using the current (or rather the MeFi standard) layout just wouldn't work.
posted by bouncebounce at 7:51 AM on September 8, 2006


Dude, I just gave the New York example because someone from Calgary brought it up as a reason. But I still say if you care you can find it and if you don't look, then you don't really care.
posted by dame at 8:35 AM on September 8, 2006


dame writes "If people want to go to meetups, they'll look at MeTa or the filtered out meetup page. If they don't, then they don't want to go very badly and will live if they miss one."

Exactly. I really really doubt that a page tweak or another site or another page, whether or not it has flashing lights, bells and/or the promise of free beer is going will make an iota of difference. If you want to get people to a meeting in your locality, then get an email list together. If you intend travelling then read MeTa and find an email address for someone you like in that place. But all the announcements or technologies used for this are not going to make people either A. read the thread or B. remember. (let alone C. care)

But I think having them all announced generally in the gray (in addition to anywhere else they might be posted if a change is made) is a still good idea.
posted by peacay at 8:52 AM on September 8, 2006


I'm with dobbs on this one -- the meetup link on the main MetaTalk page is all that's required.
posted by Rash at 8:55 AM on September 8, 2006


ditto dobbs and dame.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:48 AM on September 8, 2006


or the promise of free beer

No, I think that would make a difference.

Otherwise, what dame said.
posted by languagehat at 9:49 AM on September 8, 2006


You know, I was thinking about this at lunch and it seems to be that part of what my objection is--outside that we seem to be fixing a problem that doesn't really exist and the fact that I suspect creating another page for people to check will lead to fewer people seeing meetups--is the idea that everything can and must be improved with bells and whistles. Part of what I enjoy about this place as an esthetic experience is the simplicity: it does a few things and does them well, with a certain economical grace. You know, the anti-MySpace aesthetic. And lately it seems like a lot of the new additions damage that with minor utility. I know other people prefer different aesthetics, and that's fine of course, but I think there is where my deep dislike of this idea comes from.
posted by dame at 10:05 AM on September 8, 2006


Mine is snobbier. I think if people are really part of this community, to the extent of wanting to actually meet other mefites face to face, they will already be on MeTa - or at the very least know to click on the meetup category every now and then.
Of course, that means meetups tend to self select for the nerdiest of us, but hey.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:33 AM on September 8, 2006


Very well put, dame. I'm not sold for or against the idea of a dedicated meetup space, up-thread brainstorms notwithstanding, but in principle I'm with you.

I think I find discrete purpose-serving subsites far less disruptive than modifications to the fundamental interface of the site, though. I find myself squinting pretty unkindly at proposals to modify the "posted by" line, for example, and I've railed at length against the "editing window" proposals and god I hope I didn't just wake the slumbering beast, there. But Projects? Jobs? Music? Those I love. Those I am all for, because they don't fundamentally alter the way someone deals with the blue or the grey or the green.

So the idea of a meetup subsite doesn't chafe me, I think, because the addition of a new subsite doesn't alter the fundamental user experience. cillit bang's Meetup Alert would be more invasive, as would be any alteration that would erase meetup announcements outright from the main Metatalk page—but simply adding some features that accomodate well the existing needs and quibbles found in the (at this point essentially featureless) kluge that is the meetup-management process? I can get behind that.
posted by cortex at 10:34 AM on September 8, 2006


(And it occurs to me that if a magical meetup subsite did get invented, new meetup proposals could be transparently added to the metatalk front page at creation time such that they would look just like a current meetup request—except that proceeding into the thread would lead to the snazzier meetup-specific data. Which would provide for a static user experience re: oldschool meetup announcements, but integrate the new subsite well too.)
posted by cortex at 10:39 AM on September 8, 2006


I just vote for electing cortex overlord of the universe.
posted by matildaben at 11:17 AM on September 8, 2006


I have a feeling that would end poorly.
posted by cortex at 11:29 AM on September 8, 2006


Events.Metafilter.com could be a home for announcements of meetups, theatre, drag races, etc for MeFites, et al. Just an idea.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:05 PM on September 8, 2006


Just don't filter out by location, I hate it when I buy the New York Times out-of-town and the restaurant reviews are gone, on the assumption I won't care if I can't go.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:17 PM on September 8, 2006


Metafilter: "Judging from some of the comments, you may be the only one that actually thinks"

Sorry I singled out NYC as a place where the ability to send a meeting heads up would be a desired feature. Let's add Canada's NYC, Seattle, Vancouver, LA, Austin, Portland, Oakland, San Jose, London, Washington (the city), Northborough, Boston, and San Francisco.

dame writes "outside that we seem to be fixing a problem that doesn't really exist"

Meetup notification isn't a problem in New York were there is a meetup every other week. It is a problem places where there has never been a meetup and where the "MetaFilter users nearest this user: " line doesn't scroll for three pages to include 440 MetaFites within a half hour's drive.
posted by Mitheral at 12:44 PM on September 8, 2006


Okay, Mitheral, and I am saying in bigger places it isn't neccessary. And in places where it is, the number of people is small enough that doing it by hand isn't onerous.

Meetup notification isn't a problem in New York were there is a meetup every other week.

Actually, that's part of the reason I think there shouldn't be a separate page. Because when it updates with links relevant to you only rarely, you are less likely to look at it. It makes sense to keep them on MeTa, a place that's worth checking everyday, because you are more likely to see them.

So to sum up, reasons why I think changes are bad and are worse than any problem:

* People are less likely to see a separate page.
* There are plenty of ways for people who care to find out already.
* I don't care for the ooooo shiny aesthetic.

I'm sorry you seem to have some inferiority complex about not living in New York (or anyplace where there are a bunch of MeFites) and you think geegaws will make you feel better. But don't act like I'm persecuting you because I am against clutter that won't actually solve any problems.
posted by dame at 1:20 PM on September 8, 2006


It makes sense to keep them on MeTa, a place that's worth checking everyday, because you are more likely to see them.

Sure. But if there's some utility to creating a Meetup object that allows for better meetup management, and you can have that object with it's extra data and metadata appear as vanilla meetups already do on Metatalk, there's gain without damage done, yes?

And if you have an extra page that functions, not primarily as an announcement page (because the announcements in Metatalk already do that well) but as a better portal to meetup-specific data, what's the problem with that? People will go there when it is useful to do so, there'll be more transparent at-a-glance access to meetup data, and meanwhile the oldschool functionality of Metatalk meetup posts persists.

It doesn't have to be particularly shiny or googawish. It doesn't have to supplant the old way—it can simply supplement it.

I'm sorry you seem to have some inferiority complex about not living in New York

It may not be so much the manifestation of an inferiority complex about one's own place of residence as it is the manifestation of annoyance at a perceived superiority complex on the part of the NYCers, if you want to get down to it. But I'd bet as much as anything it's not a complex at all—it's a reasonable observation that the utility you perceive as a resident of the most populous city in the nation may differ considerably from the utility perceived by someone who lives in more sparse conditions.
posted by cortex at 1:37 PM on September 8, 2006


Except if you live somewhere spare, doing it by hand isn't onerous. So then we are back at it solves a problem that doesn't really exist.

And I would suggest that the NYC complex is just as much a production of the afflicteds' minds. On MeFi at least there is a much greater incidence of people being all "Oh you're not as great as you think you are" than New Yorkers dissing people. Look at this thread for instance. Someone came up with an NYC example; I explained why I didn't apply and (a) someone was all "it isn't about you!!!" when I didn't bring it up first and (b) the person who brought it up got all snippy. And you know, I just explained why it didn't apply. So, uh, yeah.

And if you have an extra page that functions, not primarily as an announcement page (because the announcements in Metatalk already do that well) but as a better portal to meetup-specific data, what's the problem with that? People will go there when it is useful to do so, there'll be more transparent at-a-glance access to meetup data, and meanwhile the oldschool functionality of Metatalk meetup posts persists.

It doesn't have to be particularly shiny or googawish. It doesn't have to supplant the old way—it can simply supplement it.


What is a better portal to meet-up specific data than this exactly? Adding a map? Oooooo shiny because I don't know geography. I cannot imagine where Calgary is! Thank god there is a map. Send emails to people who obviously don't care enough to go looking for it? Ooooo shiny, it does stuff.
posted by dame at 1:51 PM on September 8, 2006


What is a better portal to meet-up specific data than this exactly?

I'll tell you what: that, with entries that can be updated as information is settled by the organizer, and accessed in a time- and location-defined manner, and extended meaningful on a metadata basis should the need arise.

The map is a nice notion but not what sells this for me, and it wasn't one of the original suggestions. We have the functionality, recently proven via Jobs, and so there's no apparent harm in it, but if you're getting the impression that a shiny map is the main purported boon to this idea, you've gotten something different from this thread than I have.
posted by cortex at 3:31 PM on September 8, 2006


There really should be something on the front page - there are definitely people who would like to go who don't know about them.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:39 PM on September 9, 2006


I'll chime in after starting this thread.

My only intent was to get more mefites to notice that meetups are happening. Right now, the procedure seems kind of random - you have to watch metatalk and not miss one when it goes by. Actually, you have to know about metatalk in the first place which many people don't.

I think its easy to over-engineer this. I suggest just having a prominent MEETUP link on the header and then pointing to a subsite which looks like Metatalk looks like today. I am sure there are many enhancements to be made and many good suggestions have been made in this thread.

But, that can come later, no?
posted by vacapinta at 7:00 PM on September 9, 2006


Part of what I enjoy about this place as an esthetic experience is the simplicity: it does a few things and does them well, with a certain economical grace. You know, the anti-MySpace aesthetic.
Well said. Keeping in mind that I will never get to attend a meetup, therefore may be bitter and my opinion skewed, this is a solution looking for a problem. Better to put resources towards making things that already exist work better.
posted by dg at 8:11 PM on September 10, 2006


There are seven guys on your near this user list, start organising man.
posted by Mitheral at 7:06 AM on September 11, 2006


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