"HelpMe" September 3, 2010 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Have any thought ever been given to creating a "Help a Mefite in Need" space on the site?

Every once in a while, comments like this one show up on the Blue, or a MeTa post like this is posted. I see them and wonder how many of us might be able and willing to assist each other regularly, if only we knew how or what might be needed.
posted by zarq to MetaFilter-Related at 11:29 AM (69 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

This is absolutely something that needs to take place offsite or only happen sort of randomly like it does now.

Any sort of official nod to this sort of stuff gets us in a position we very badly do not want to be in. As it is, the few times this stuff has come up in MeTa it's been a very large behind the scenes headache [in addition to the stuff people read here] and in fact we'd probably like less of this, not more. People can use their MeFi affiliations to band together and do this sort of thing offsite, but this sort of thing is a sticky mess from a mod/admin perspective and is something that only really works if it's not centralized around the site itself.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:33 AM on September 3, 2010 [18 favorites]


I think it would be a good idea if it was "have stuff to give", rather than "NEED stuff". Cuz that will just into a begathon. And then members who want stuff that is posted can figure out stuff with those that have some to give.

I can see how it *might* work....but i also see a LOT of potential for abuse/annoyance.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:34 AM on September 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wow. There i am, agreeing with the mods again.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:35 AM on September 3, 2010


I need an iPad, but don't want to pay for one, does that count?
posted by nomadicink at 11:39 AM on September 3, 2010


Ah well. That's understandable. Thanks for responding so quickly, Jessamyn.
posted by zarq at 11:40 AM on September 3, 2010


We talked about this a while back, I still remember the warm fuzzies from that thread. Ultimately scrapped with no small amount of disappointment all around, but places like Favorville were mentioned.
posted by Gator at 11:43 AM on September 3, 2010


And now I see that Favorville is defunct. Bummer.
posted by Gator at 11:44 AM on September 3, 2010


The person with the inept technology coordinator should post on mefi jobs. Otherwise, what jessamyn said.
posted by desjardins at 11:47 AM on September 3, 2010


Thank you for pointing out that thread, Gator. It's a good one.
posted by zarq at 11:55 AM on September 3, 2010


unowen.metafilter.com
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:15 PM on September 3, 2010


unowen.metafilter.com

That was not what I was asking for.
posted by zarq at 12:17 PM on September 3, 2010


I know it's a bit of snark, and I know it's not what you were asking for, but to sort of underscore what jessamyn said it's kind of precisely why we don't want to go there. There's so much potential for weirdness and hurt feelings and drama even in the odd this-wasn't-planned situations where things like this arise organically that in any way formalizing the idea as something to be condoned and encouraged is really really sticky.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:28 PM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


zarq: "That was not what I was asking for."

Yeah, but that's how cynical, terrified people will look at it, being so afraid of someone taking advantage of that they'll reduce it to the worst case scenario.

Having said that, I can completely understand the mods' desire to reduce site liability.
posted by boo_radley at 12:33 PM on September 3, 2010


I still kind of want to live in the world of Maneki Neko. Sterling keeps it short and conspicuously doesn't answer a lot of questions about how the depicted social networks work. But I love the idea.
posted by Zed at 12:37 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's so much potential for weirdness and hurt feelings and drama even in the odd this-wasn't-planned situations where things like this arise organically that in any way formalizing the idea as something to be condoned and encouraged is really really sticky.

I do understand. Thank you, cortex.
posted by zarq at 12:40 PM on September 3, 2010


Even though the site itself is a bad venue to formalize this sort of thing, I can see how it's tempting to ask for because we've managed to really establish a community here. The way it can work is when/if communities overlap, and MeFi relationships spill over into "real life". (Super-heavy quotes there; I personally believe there's a shrinking distinction between online life and 'real life'. Anyway...)

So, you know, go to meetups! Use IRL! Make friends in real life—MeFi is awesome because of all of the awesome people who contribute to this community blog, and there's a good chance they'll be awesome when you meet them in person. Those are the connections that really come in handy when shit goes down.
posted by carsonb at 12:41 PM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Out of curiosity, I was reading the loquacious auction thread and took a quick look at the results on eBay. There's a weird comment about one of the participants on the feedback page:

3rd party donor of item never came thru, seller promptly refunded

It sounds like gman was left responsible for a charity donation to a fellow MeFite because a donor weaseled out. If that's true, that's really awfully sad.

I'd understand why the mods would be reluctant to be a third-party in a "HelpMe" subsite, because of the mistrust and bad feelings that type of dishonest behavior creates.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:45 PM on September 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


It sounds like gman was left responsible for a charity donation to a fellow MeFite because a donor weaseled out. If that's true, that's really awfully sad.

Yes, and it very totally sucked. We'd like to not get into it here if at all possible.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:54 PM on September 3, 2010


Yeah, but that's how cynical, terrified people will look at it, being so afraid of someone taking advantage of that they'll reduce it to the worst case scenario.

I commented in a different thread earlier today that it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness. I tend to think that if people are helped by a project, that net positive gain outweighs a potential abuse of the system.

That said, I completely understand where the mods are coming from. And I wouldn't want to make more problems for them in any way.

When I was in my teens, my mom used to cook giant trays of pasta and other foods in disposable aluminum pans every Sunday morning and we'd trek them down to the Bowery or other NYC soup kitchens to help feed people who were hungry. Some were homeless. Some weren't. I did similar volunteer work on my own for many years. The soup kitchens and food lines are still open, but you can't cook and bring food anymore. The folks who run those kitchens are too afraid of some psycho trying to poison the poor.

I like the idea of this community helping others and each other. We have seen how well that can work in small bursts. I do understand and realize that it's not necessarily realistic or practical. But yes, I do wish it were possible. In an ideal world, it would be. We have the potential to do a lot of good in small ways.

I'm not attempting to advocate for anything by saying this. I respect the answers given by cortex and jessamyn, and am not trying to get into a discussion about merits or feasibility. It's not feasible.

But still, I think it's kind of a shame.
posted by zarq at 1:09 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If helping a MeFite was conventionalized in some way on the site, it would block all those wonderful instances where it happens organically and spontaneously. That'd be a shame.

It's a nice thought, though.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:10 PM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ha, total coincidence that we both used the it-be-a-shame line.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:11 PM on September 3, 2010


Heh. GMTA?
posted by zarq at 1:12 PM on September 3, 2010


If the cd and grocery bag swap have taught me anything, it's that the relationships that bind here on metafilter, and whether people actually come through when they agree to do something they've promised to do, it's all tenuous at best. Not that we haven't been capable of doing some pretty good things in times of need...
posted by crunchland at 1:14 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's kind of a shame.

Then you should organize this off-site if you like the idea.

I also agree with your general assertion, that I think it's worth putting up with a lot of crap if we do wind up helping people. The issue is that the crap and the help are not evenly distributed. If this becomes a site thing then the moderation team are put in the position of being arbiters of every exchange that happens.

In a less formal way, we already are. People ask our opinion of other members when they are thinking of entering into some trust agreement with them, or people get pissy with the site at large when some transaction they made with another member doesn't go well, or people hound other people on the site for real-life interactions they've had with members that didn't go so well. The "help" aspects that the site already participates in are both wonderful and incredibly time-intensive for us compared to most of the other site-running sorts of things.

The fact that the site can facilitate, informally, some great real-world interactions with people is really terrific. Institutionalizing this sort of thing makes it seem like that is one of the stated administered purposes of the site. This both ruins the spontaneity of the thing and also makes it appropriate to talk about people's offline lives in a level of detail that's not really okay for the way this site operates. Put a different way, people opening themselves up as helpers and helpees open themselves up to a greater level of scrutiny and judgement than this site can sustain.

We do a lot of work behind the scenes to keep this community running at least mostly okay. This sort of thing would bump the amount of work we'd have to do to a level where we couldn't do that anymore. I appreciate that people would like it if that were different, but I feel that that vision sees the site as something other than what it actually is.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:25 PM on September 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think it's kind of a shame.

Who get's to decide who needs help? That's what my early snark was about. How do you verif the person actually needs help?

Are you prepared to deal with crap from people who are questioning your motives, even though you know you're working honestly?

Are you ready for people to come out of the woodwork, asking for your help and realizing you only have so many hours in the day, so you have to turn them away?

Are you ok with being left holding the bag if someone else changes their mind and decides not to help?
posted by nomadicink at 1:40 PM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wish I knew what happened to Favorville. I could have sworn it was still up and running at the beginning of this year. I signed up for it back when that previous MeTa thread was going on, and while I never actually participated in any favors either way, I kept going back to the site periodically and looking around at the different favors people offered and asked for. It seemed like it was really going well, at least as far as participation, but who knows what sort of behind-the-scenes issues they may have had.
posted by Gator at 1:59 PM on September 3, 2010


Jesus, he's already backed off, agreed it wouldn't work, and said he's not asking for it. What do you want, blood?
posted by languagehat at 2:14 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, this is some metametatalk here, but can someone enlighten me as to the "unowen" thing? I wonder if this is a reference that has passed me by. Googling it produces 400,000 hits, mostly related to Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" (a pseudonym in the book, playing on 'unknown') and an eye-gougingly bad piece of music which includes the name in the title, but I have a publication from 1981 which includes a minor character named U.N. Owen, with the apparent expectation that the reader will be in on the joke. Was the joke a reference to the Christie novel published 42 years earlier? Is there some other U.N. Owen I should know?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:14 PM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


(that was to nomadicink)
posted by languagehat at 2:14 PM on September 3, 2010


I need an iPad, but don't want to pay for one, does that count?

Imagine the epic callouts a real live request for something like this would create. Hence, this is not the best idea.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:21 PM on September 3, 2010


I love the idea of something like this in spirit, but I can't see how if it's formalized, people wouldn't try to cheat the system to get stuff. Or how innocent people wouldn't be accused of trying to cheat the system because when it's possible, in theory, to cheat the system, people become paranoid. And then it's just not fun anymore.

I love that we can do stuff like this as a community. But anything that encourages it to be something other than organic is doomed to failure (and I'm usually an optimist about things), unless there's a robust fact checking system in place.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:22 PM on September 3, 2010


Thanks for having a big heart, zarq!
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:24 PM on September 3, 2010


What do you want, blood?

Mmmm, kosher.
posted by nomadicink at 2:24 PM on September 3, 2010


I need an iPad, but don't want to pay for one, does that count?

I have an iPad, but I didn't have to pay for it.

See, everything worked out in the end!
posted by R. Mutt at 2:27 PM on September 3, 2010


I think askme is a great place for people to find out about potential resources that they may not know about. I know I've searched questions for non-mefite friends looking for information about things like low cost therapy in a specific city.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:27 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there some other U.N. Owen I should know?

Hmm, I don't see a page about her anywhere on the wiki. In short, she was a user who was around for a bit [and famous for creating the HURF DURF BUTTER EATER meme locally] who then "hit a bit of a rough patch" and asked for quasi help via an AskMe question which then got elevated to MetaTalk by a concerned individual, starting a "where's the line" sort of discussion [and some people gave her money, and other people called those people idiots]. End result: she's a known quantity on other web sites for doing this sort of thing. She did some other weird stuff. She is no longer on MetaFilter. The entire thing left a terrible taste in many people's mouths.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:33 PM on September 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


u.n. owen

and now I sorta feel bad for bringing her up
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:35 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Then you should organize this off-site if you like the idea.

Since your initial comment earlier, I admit I've been thinking about it. I have more thinking to do. :)

The "help" aspects that the site already participates in are both wonderful and incredibly time-intensive for us compared to most of the other site-running sorts of things.

Yeah, I'm definitely not interested in making more work for you folks. You do a tremendous, heroic job keeping this place running (and as you say, much of it is invisible to the userbase because it's done behind the scenes) and I wouldn't want to add a burden to that.

Put a different way, people opening themselves up as helpers and helpees open themselves up to a greater level of scrutiny and judgement than this site can sustain.

This is one of the reasons I'm now not sure it could ever be feasible. The potential (and perhaps inevitable) downsides make me wonder if a project like this would create nothing but problems and bad feelings all around. I like the idea. But we don't live in an ideal world.
posted by zarq at 2:35 PM on September 3, 2010


Oy, preview fail. What jessamyn said.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:35 PM on September 3, 2010


Jesus, he's already backed off, agreed it wouldn't work, and said he's not asking for it. What do you want, blood?

It's okay! But thanks for defending me!!

My blood is already spoken for anyway! ;)
posted by zarq at 2:37 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're serious about this zarq, hit me via email or something and I'll tell you my experiences doing this in terms of being connected to Mefi.
posted by nomadicink at 2:40 PM on September 3, 2010


I love that we can do stuff like this as a community. But anything that encourages it to be something other than organic is doomed to failure (and I'm usually an optimist about things), unless there's a robust fact checking system in place.

I can be as cynical as the next MeFite; I'm still on the "agin it" side of the Edit Debate, for example, because I believe it'll be abused no matter how brief the window is. But I'm not convinced this sort of thing couldn't be done on a relatively casual level, without Modest Needs-level background and fact checking.

Just look at the MeFi Jobs section and how well that seems to be going. The potential for abuse is certainly there; somebody could accept a job, do the work, and then have the original job poster drop off the face of the Earth without paying, but has there ever been a documented case of that happening? And as someone sort of alluded to upthread, the new "available" section of Jobs may well serve as a sort of MetaFavor section in some ways, since (I suspect) it'll most likely be used more for smallish gigs rather than as a serious career building tool (though I can see that happening too).

I'm not arguing with the mods' decision to not get officially involved in such a thing, but I do think we could pull it off, as long as things like intense scrutiny and judgment were left out of the equation. If somebody asked for a hinky favor (like a free iPad) and you didn't feel comfortable helping, you could just...not help. If somebody signed up JUST for the purpose of asking favors and you felt they were taking advantage of the community, you could just...not help. If a longtime user in your geographic area asked for a favor but called you a poopyhead in last week's MeTa grarfest, you could just...not help.
posted by Gator at 2:45 PM on September 3, 2010


OK. Thank you. Will do so, but it may not be until tomorrow. I have an evening meeting I'm running to shortly.
posted by zarq at 2:50 PM on September 3, 2010


Oops. That was to nomadicink.
posted by zarq at 2:51 PM on September 3, 2010


SpacemanStix, thanks. That's very kind of you to say. It's just been on my mind for a while so I thought I might as well speak up.
posted by zarq at 2:53 PM on September 3, 2010


Zarq, I'm glad you posted this question, at least - because I do have a few extra pcs, live a few hours away from beelzbubba, and just emailed him to see if he needed them.
posted by HopperFan at 2:54 PM on September 3, 2010


People ask our opinion of other members when they are thinking of entering into some trust agreement with them, or people get pissy with the site at large when some transaction they made with another member doesn't go well, or people hound other people on the site for real-life interactions they've had with members that didn't go so well.

Oh, wow. And I thought the stuff I can see you dealing with is bad enough.
posted by XMLicious at 2:56 PM on September 3, 2010


If somebody signed up JUST for the purpose of asking favors and you felt they were taking advantage of the community, you could just...not help.

It becomes a site issue though when people say "this person signed up for the site in bad faith, what are you [mods] going to do about it?" We see this every once in a while with spammy looking users who, while they're not doing anything too shady just seem sketchy. And we get emails. And sometimes we email the users to ask about things, and then we get weird grief from them too. Flat out, there's no way to say "this is not a site issue" if it's happening between users on this site.

We're happy to give our rulings on things "Don't give that guy an ipad if you don't think he should have one, then." but that doesn't mean that people won't still agitate. And you can't just tell a whole site full of people "oh don't worry about that, it doesn't concern you" Additionally, since this is happening nominally in public we'll get the same sort of scrutiny from the outside [other blogs, other media], except by people who understand the systems here much less well.

The Russian Girls weekend was easily one of the most difficult weekends I've had as an employee here. A lot of people's relationships with the site were irrevocably changed. I really don't want to be some sort of "it will never work" downer here [and I'm known for doing a little back channel helping out of my own from time to time] but that there's a reason some of this stuff works slightly better if it's slightly a bit more back channel. See someone who is posting about a relative who died? Send them a cookie. There's a lot of simple stuff you can do that spreads a lot of goodwill and has no infrastructure requirements other than what is already there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:01 PM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would just like to say that I've helped people from this site, and have been helped, and these experiences have been valuable and rewarding (although sometimes difficult). So if you're thinking of helping someone from this site, do it! It makes us a stronger community.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:41 PM on September 3, 2010


There's a lot of simple stuff you can do that spreads a lot of goodwill and has no infrastructure requirements other than what is already there.

Jessamyn has it. I help people on AskMe from time to time via memail/offsite contact, and have been helped several times the same way. It's as simple as asking "Resources for Thing X?", and has the added bonus of reaching a larger audience than a separate subsite would.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 4:16 PM on September 3, 2010


I don't know about your area, but in various areas I have lived in the past five years (across two continents) I have seen great ideas like this unfortunately flounder. Take freecycle - it is a great resource for giving things away. But so many people (myself including) just get sick of wading through the 'hi, I need a new computer/washing machine/whatever' from people who rarely offer anything, or anything anyone wants, and get turned off. I still belong to Couchsurfing, and use it, but I know of people who live in popular locations who have left because they were sick of the mentality that Couchsurfing was all about free accommodation and nothing more.
I could see this happening on Metafilter, especially if it became known 'outside the blue' It doesn't even have to be maliciously, just word getting around that 'these people might be able to help you out' and bam, it explodes.
posted by Megami at 4:22 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


So i spent a bit of time reading the un owen mess. Yikes. I kinda wish i hadn't.

The user is no longer registered...was that a scam, or real, or what?
posted by hal_c_on at 5:52 PM on September 3, 2010


Oddly enough, I believe UN Owen was actually the very first MeFite I ever spoke with by email back in '04 or '05. We had a pleasant conversation about the then-new trend of US pharmacists who refused to fill birth control prescriptions. I was pretty surprised when all of that went down and she was the focus.

But then, I didn't see the dhoyt/jenleigh thing in advance either.
posted by zarq at 7:03 PM on September 3, 2010


HopperFan, that's awesome! Thank you for doing that!
posted by zarq at 7:08 PM on September 3, 2010


She is no longer on MetaFilter. The entire thing left a terrible taste in many people's mouths.
posted by jessamyn at 5:33 PM on September 3 [4 favorites +] [!]


Ah, alles klar. Thanks -- that was before my time and I didn't even think to check the user lists here.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:28 PM on September 3, 2010


"So i spent a bit of time reading the un owen mess. Yikes. I kinda wish i hadn't."

Ugh, hal_c_on, I went and looked too, and I wish I hadn't. What a disgusting mess.
posted by HopperFan at 9:28 PM on September 3, 2010



The Russian Girls weekend was easily one of the most difficult weekends I've had as an employee here.


I know you're not talking about me or my role specifically, but I have felt and do feel sorry for the strain, scrutiny, and change the whole situation induced (which has relented, but not gone away), so my sincere apologies to all.

Having seen and experienced both the good (unbelievable good) and the bad (unreasonable scrutiny, hostility, threats) of these situations, I don't think formalizing helping others on the site is a good idea at this time.
posted by fake at 9:20 AM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a little :/ because dhoyt/jenleigh were before my time here. But my husband is a D. Hoyt (not this dhoyt), and I am a Jen whose middle name is Lee. Now I must google to see what the hijinks were all about.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:35 AM on September 4, 2010


It sounds like gman was left responsible for a charity donation to a fellow MeFite because a donor weaseled out. If that's true, that's really awfully sad.

Yes, and it very totally sucked. We'd like to not get into it here if at all possible.
posted by jessamyn at 8:54 PM on September 3 [+] [!]


It possibly sucked because the whelk would put you off when you asked to contribute, there was no time left to auction and things were sold at less than their cost of manufacture/selling price in real world.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:54 AM on September 4, 2010


DrGirlfriend, This was the final MeTa thread on DHoyt/jenleigh situation. One person (DHoyt) had four accounts: highsignal, jenleigh and hall of robots.

jenleigh was defended by dhoyt more than once in MeTa. The revelation that they were the same person was pretty amazing.
posted by zarq at 12:29 PM on September 4, 2010


It also made comments like this one:

"you know dhoyt, your crush on me and karl is almost flattering -- I can send naked pictures of me and karl that you can hang over your bunk, dhoyt.

as I said, jenleigh (even if I'll never agree with her "Islam suxx" crusade) is clearly an asset to this community. unlike you."


...kind of amusing.
posted by zarq at 12:32 PM on September 4, 2010


sgt.serenity: "It possibly sucked because the whelk would put you off when you asked to contribute, there was no time left to auction and things were sold at less than their cost of manufacture/selling price in real world."

You seem to be okay hashing this out in MeTa, and since I can't seem to get one-on-one time with you via email, this is the only way I have of addressing the situation.

Here are the sequence of events as they occurred:

1) We were overwhelmed by the generous response from people wanting to list eBay auctions. Since I had to put time into each one, we decided on a cut off date. I personally was not contacted by you until after the first auction was underway. Because we were done with new auctions, but you really wanted in, I put it up for five days.

2) You offered up that print in particular and came up with a description for the auction. I sent you a link to the auction page, informed you of the 99 cent starting price, and asked if you'd like anything altered. You said it looked good and didn't indicate you wanted a reserve price.

3) Auction ended and I sent you the winning bidder's info. You informed me you would send it out soon. A month later, I sent an email asking if you had posted it out and was told you're "on it." 2+ weeks later and still nothing. I then sent two more emails and a MeMail asking what's up. No response.

4) Two months on from the end of the auction I sent one last email calling it a dick move.

5) I got no reply until out-of-the-blue one month later (very end of August) you sent an "ain't gonna happen" email. I'm not going to get into the specifics of the accusations you're leveling against another member of this site, but you did state that the piece is now in a gallery at a very high price. Since you didn't feel that the amount it garnered in the auction would have helped very much, I trust that you'll be donating a part of the proceeds to the fund should it sell -- an amount you feel would help.

6) This comment by you is particularly baffling.
posted by gman at 1:01 PM on September 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wow.

> This comment by you is particularly baffling.

I don't know if "baffling" is quite the word, but it's certainly something.
posted by languagehat at 2:44 PM on September 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks zarq...what a mess!
posted by DrGirlfriend at 3:16 PM on September 4, 2010


I haven't been spending much time on MeTa so I'm just now seeing this thread.

Please, no fighting and drama. I have a enough stress and performance anxiety going on to try to make this miracle opportunity work out for the best and get stable and self-supporting, which has been a struggle and coming in fits and starts. The fact that the economy is deeply buried in the shitter isn't helping much either, because it's usually easier for me to find freelance/temp work.

I know personally what it's like to have to sell art for less then it cost to produce and/or less then what it should go for, and it sucks. I also know what it's like to be overwhelmed, or feeling too obligated or otherwise generally wanting to help someone but then being unable to follow through. /me waves dismissively at mountain-sized guilt complex looming in the background.

I'm personally in the dark about a lot of the details about the donations and the auctions. If sgt.serenity has his piece in a gallery potentially going for a good price I completely support that. It's not that big of a deal. The miscommunication sucks but I've been on both sides of that fence.

And I really don't want people donating if it's anything more than a minor sacrifice. The thought of people going without just because I'm a broken-down piece of crap who needed help isn't going to help my outlook much at all.

I don't want this kind of ill feeling going on at any level if it can be helped.
posted by loquacious at 6:38 PM on September 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


Maybe I should've bid higher on that cow print.
posted by box at 12:12 PM on September 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


zarq, thanks for asking on my behalf--and hopperfan, thank you for your generous offer. I have to say, I have been following this thread since Friday, but only a moment ago did I click on the first link, which referenced my post in the Back to School Surprise in California thread.

While I very much appreciate--and do intend to take up-hopperfan's offer, my intent was not to go a-begging. My comment was to jstef, who made an offhand comment that the school he works at in Silicon Valley has 250 laptops that go unused while his gf's school in Richmond can't cover basic needs. I (jokingly) suggested he send a few of those laptops my way, but no matter how inept his support person is, those laptops were donated to serve that school, not my program.

My community center does have needs, which I mostly try to fill from local donors, foundations, and gifts. We'll make it, at least another year or two. If we're meant to survive, we will--and I say that with no trace of fatalism or determinism. I am working hard to secure the future of the community center, but it will depend on our local communityand not the MeFi community in order to survive long term; as much as I depend on MeFi for sanity, I agree that its purpose can't be salvation.

Hopperfan's offer was completely unexpected, completely welcomed, and we've memailed.
posted by beelzbubba at 2:12 PM on September 5, 2010


Well, in my mind, I'm just paying a favor back to Ann Arbor. I visited there quite a long time ago, and was milling around on the main drag, people watching. A couple in their 50s came up to us, and said, "Hey, we have extra tickets to [garble garble], do you want them?" Having nothing better to do at the moment, we took them with thanks. We had no idea who we were going to be seeing. (That was also the trip that I got chased by buffalos.)

It turns out that the concert was actually the Dixie Chicks, sometime before they really got famous - it was a pretty small venue, and a great show.

I also think, if this goes through with beelzbubba, [have to get the client to sign off on it, but they will] that he's doing me and my client a favor. So many smaller companies here get frustrated with trying to donate, and end up actually paying someone to cart their outdated equipment away for them.

So, anyway, I know big "pls give money kthx" threads are not ok, but I hope it's still kosher to throw a small request out there when there's a need, say in a single comment or a memail.
posted by HopperFan at 7:38 PM on September 5, 2010


Before this post falls off the front page and out of people's view, I'd just like to say that you're a better person than most, loquacious. I admit to having a really hard time forgiving scammers. If I had seen someone get ripped off when trying to help out another human being, without your gracious call for peace I probably would have responded in much the same way as I did when the folks at Givewell got caught red-handed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:04 AM on September 7, 2010


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