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Meta Filter
July 3, 2011 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I came across this interesting bit of information while doing some research on the London based conceptual artist Stephen Willats. According to his wiki, "His 1973 work Meta Filter consisted of pairs of participants seated at a computer, attempting to reach an agreement about the meanings of various images and statements." You can read more about Meta Filter here, and more about Willats at his website here.
posted by puny human to MetaFilter-Related at 11:50 AM (50 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

Metafilter: A central problem of our society caused by the fact that different groups interpret the world in different ways.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:55 AM on July 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: participants seated at a computer, attempting to reach an agreement about the meanings of various images and statements.

It works!
posted by bleep at 11:56 AM on July 3, 2011 [33 favorites]


Metafilter: a series of twelve problem areas which focus on different issues around interpersonal relationships.
posted by txsebastien at 11:57 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


But seriously, this is a really neat find, worth a FPP.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:58 AM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's pronounced 'mee-fight.'
posted by ericb at 11:59 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Meta Filter Problem Book

Wish I could read the text. Where is the "enhance" button on this thing?
posted by puny human at 12:01 PM on July 3, 2011


MetaFilter: an interactive console, two participants sit on either side and look at a series of neutral images of people, people as individuals or people in relationship to others on the small screen in front of them.
posted by auto-correct at 12:06 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: You can read more about Meta Filter here.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love how the pictures of the exhibit look like some outdated science fiction movie; Sleeper or something.
posted by msalt at 12:22 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


totally agree, this would be a great FPP.
posted by sweetkid at 12:28 PM on July 3, 2011


I wish we could get rid of the use of "his wiki" to mean "his Wikipedia article" (or, better, "the Wikipedia article about him"). It's confusing, more so than most uses of "wiki" as shorthand for "Wikipedia." After all, some people do have personal wiki sites, and so to disambiguate the phrase you have to figure out whether the person who used it actually knows what a wiki is or not.
posted by RogerB at 12:29 PM on July 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


Metafilter: my four year old could do that.
posted by fire&wings at 12:36 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your idea of a "Meta Filter" intrigues me.
posted by Trurl at 12:54 PM on July 3, 2011


Meta Filter: you're wrong, no, you're wrong
posted by grouse at 1:01 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is amazing. Are we sure this isn't one of cortex's projects? I'm truly fascinated by the intersection between this work of art and the website we know and love. Those images of the "Meta Filter machine" are just beautiful, and I would like for someone to create a reconstruction of one that displays a browser opened to MetaFilter on the screen.

Also, you people are all wrong. It is:

Meta Filter: Would the work operate in the same way with more loaded images, say, images of violence or of immigrants?
posted by Rock Steady at 1:06 PM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's a recent paper about the project.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:12 PM on July 3, 2011


Metafilter: There is no right or wrong answer.
posted by verstegan at 1:14 PM on July 3, 2011


This is very nearly unbelievable, such is its greatness
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:43 PM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


He needs a free account.
posted by Houstonian at 1:45 PM on July 3, 2011


This is just too perfect. Wow.
posted by brundlefly at 2:18 PM on July 3, 2011


Yeah, flesh it out a bit if you can and make it into a FPP. It'll be better than the SLYT's and probably won't get as many threadshitting/I don't own a TV crap the other decent FPPs get. Wah wah wahhhhh.
posted by 1000monkeys at 2:58 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


yeah, but how does it scale?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:06 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


In 1974, at a secret location in Ann Arbor Michigan tests were conducted using this technique but with modified software. As a result, I was trained to be a burglar for the sub-section- CANTINA in the event of a soviet invasion. At great fictional peril to myself I post this now as a warning. The antedote was found after watching The Deep, 27 times on cable circa 1979, the conclusion at the end of trials was that I needed to be Nick Nolte.
posted by clavdivs at 3:15 PM on July 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


"In using questions to prompt responses, Willats intended to catalyze communication and create a relationship, mediated by a cybernetic object that Willats built. These problems were ambigious enough so that the "audience establish[ed] its own readings", again exemplifying the open systems that Willats represented"
-pg. 6
posted by clavdivs at 3:33 PM on July 3, 2011


That's a great find.
posted by rakim at 3:47 PM on July 3, 2011


Has Matt seen this? Are we its namesake, or did the site get its name independently?
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:39 PM on July 3, 2011


*dustball*
posted by cavalier at 5:46 PM on July 3, 2011


Whew. Just crazy.
posted by vrakatar at 6:10 PM on July 3, 2011


Show me the version with the professional white background, please.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:18 PM on July 3, 2011


(man, I screwed that joke up. Should have been, "now there's a professional, white background" or something to that effect.

Head hung in shame.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:19 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Got your back, gazer.
posted by vrakatar at 6:37 PM on July 3, 2011


Metafilter: Disagreement in a box.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:09 PM on July 3, 2011


Metafilter: Meta Filter.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:51 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I knew this would happen.


Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your time. Meta Filter has largely existed as a sustained art experience in narrative the meaning of connection in the modern world. It was started by myself and three of my assistants. The commentators you have enjoyed talking with are the result of over a decade of AI research and natural language processing. A few times outside persons trained in conflict generation and narrative resolution have constructed mini arcs and episodes to generate new behaviors within the AIs. You may know thesm as "mods". I blame myself for allowing my personal interest in the development of the AI and Rhe metanarrative to cloud the project. No doubt much work will have to be done. Thank you, and may god bless your souls.

- The Whelk, AKA Jonas Freeman, The Iceland Insitute for Machine Learning.
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 PM on July 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


o.0
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:24 PM on July 3, 2011


Jesus, The Whelk, you could have at least used a spoiler tag....



:-P
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:41 PM on July 3, 2011


***************
URGENT CABAL COMMUNIQUE FOLLOWS

***************

According to scientists and empiricists at the Cabal Institute for Temporological Studies, users and observers of the MultiFilter may experience temporal or causative abnormalities over the next orbital time period. A strong negative front is moving though the positive and semi-positive dimensions, causing occasional retrograde causality and referentiality. Certain instances of the simpler manifestations of the MultiFilter (especially entities like MetaFilter, Meta Filter, MetalFilter, and MeFilter) may experience cross-dimensional drift and brief periods of non-existence. Users, superusers, mods and supermods are asked to contact their contemporary Dimensional Integrity Task Force if they notice unfamiliar or temporally shifted versions of the MultiFilter in their spacetimedata regions. This period of less than optimal temporal stability is not expected to affect user-like entities within the MetaSingularity.


***************
COMMUNIQUE ENDS. THERE IS NO CABAL.

***************
posted by Rock Steady at 9:19 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


UNABLE TO SUPPORT PLANAR FEILD HYGINGE

CONTINUE DIMENSION JUMP Y/N

_
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: " FEILD HYGINGE"

your drunk dad
posted by boo_radley at 10:09 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pray you never have to deal with hyginge
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Damnit, I told you people to never cross the timelines. Never, ever. Over and over again. That's the one thing you don't do. You can sleep with the groupies, you can get high on your own supply but never, ever cross time streams.

Where's Buckaroo Banzai? Someone call New Jersey! Does anyone have any guns? I mean lots and lots of guns. Man, this is going to be a mess. Two days tops and we're going to be literally crawling with Red Lectroids. You're not going to be able to piss without one of them materializing in your shower.

*whistles, jumps on a horse and gallops off*
posted by loquacious at 10:59 PM on July 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


So does this mean we all get higher user numbers?
posted by longsleeves at 11:36 PM on July 3, 2011


this is marvelous! would love to see as a post on the blue.
posted by batmonkey at 12:00 AM on July 4, 2011


According to his wiki, "His 1973 work Meta Filter consisted of pairs of participants seated at a computer, attempting to reach an agreement about the meanings of various images and statements."

NO NO NO NO NO!

That's not from his wiki. From what I can tell, he does not have a wiki (but if anybody has started a wiki on artist Stephen Willats, this isn't from it). This is from his article at Wikipedia, which is but one wiki. A wiki is a type of website.

Anyhow, sorry. Google's suggested search results whenever I type anything ever have not done me well.
posted by floam at 2:06 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Send money, guns and whisky. Keep your lawyers.
posted by paulsc at 3:57 AM on July 4, 2011


John A. Walker: The photographic images employed in Meta Filter are cool and neutral in tone. Would the work operate in the same way with more loaded images, say, images of violence or of immigrants?
Stephen Willats: It is doubtful if it would. The neutralism of the photographs is deliberate—it enables the operators to overcome their inhibitions. In this sense the work is more subtle than it might at first appear, because there are no situations which are not loaded. Meta Filter makes loaded situations acceptable by presenting them in an abstracted, generalised form.


This is spooky y'all.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:02 AM on July 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Would the work operate in the same way with more loaded images

They are talking about the img tag. Even then.
posted by vrakatar at 8:18 AM on July 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


The lawsuits could make for a fantastic movie!
posted by nanojath at 8:37 AM on July 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meta Filter: Metafilter flagged as double.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:41 PM on July 4, 2011


Whelk, you found a good use for the <blink> tag. You are a comment ninja!
posted by benito.strauss at 5:42 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


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