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Is Metafilter a Generation Ship? November 8, 2012 7:08 PM   Subscribe

My brain free-associates all over the place when I'm trying to fall asleep. The other night during that time, a question popped into my head: the mods are all relatively within the same age range. Matt, decades from now, when you're tired of running the show, will you hand it down to "Mefi: the Next Generation"? Or close up shop?
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 7:08 PM (63 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Man, this is really a very personal question, isn't it. Care to explain why you're posting this as a MeTa thread instead of asking mathowie directly?
posted by carsonb at 7:12 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


They've hired a number of new mods in the last couple years; no reason why they wouldn't just hire their replacements.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:15 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't perceive it as an overly personal question or as violating a privacy boundary.

Additionally, in addition to the immense hard work of its moderators, Metafilter's also the product of its userbase -- so it's not a question entirely out of line, to know whether one day, it will all be dust in the cyberwind.

If Matt perceives it as an intrusion upon his privacy, that would not be a reaction I would have foreseen prior to posting this -- but in such a case, I would without pause withdraw the question and invite him to delete this thread, should he so desire.
posted by WCityMike at 7:15 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is not something we're planning to go on record with here. But more to the point this really isn't something we've planned much. I'm sure mathowie has a "This is what happens to the site if I suddenly drop dead" contingency plan, but I don't think there's been a "What if we all get too old to mod?" discussion. The userbase ages with us, though it gets replenished with users who are probably just a little younger and the average age, I'd bet, stays more or less the same as we get older.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:20 PM on November 8, 2012


I don't think that it's possible to predict the state of a website decades from now. The technology could totally change in ways that made the site - and our jobs - if not obsolete, at least completely different.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:23 PM on November 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


I thought any of us could challenge Matt in single combat for control of the site if we felt he was losing his edge.
posted by ODiV at 7:26 PM on November 8, 2012 [63 favorites]


It is my fervent hope that all future mods be chosen via Thunderdome.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:29 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nerd Thunderdome?
posted by killdevil at 7:35 PM on November 8, 2012


Sure, you can challenge, but Matt gets to name his own champion.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:37 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're breeding current mefites and indoctrinating those babies in the Ways of the Mod.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:39 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


We'll probably all be data constructs by then, so...
posted by Pudhoho at 7:45 PM on November 8, 2012


I'm looking forward to a future date when Metafilter may be snorted or perhaps consumed as a dissolving sublingual film.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


In the future, hologram mathowie show up at Coachella and banhammer yo ass.
posted by special-k at 7:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


not a question entirely out of line, to know whether one day, it will all be dust in the cyberwind.

No one knows this. The question is unanswerable.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:54 PM on November 8, 2012


Yeah, like the internet is really going to last past the Great Tech Crash of 2021.

I believe I've said too much already.
posted by item at 7:58 PM on November 8, 2012


The mods won't age. They've been sneaking in to the pool next door where those strange science-type people keep their rocks.
posted by bondcliff at 8:00 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jessamyn and Cortex go into a darkened room, each carrying half a brick. Whoever comes out with the whole brick, becomes the next mathowie.
posted by fatbird at 8:07 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would ask curiously if this thread is really going to be kept open, but after Pirate Day and "What movie set do you wish your home looked like?" it seems like MetaTalk is now pretty much free-form.
posted by cribcage at 8:09 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


In case of apocalypse, control of the site is transferred to clavdivs.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:16 PM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Was I the only one who mentally repunctuated the first sentence of this post?

My brain-free associates all over the place: when I'm trying to fall asleep...

I wondered where this was headed. As usual, after a more careful reading, I was disappointed.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:29 PM on November 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


"What movie set do you wish your home looked like?"

clav's annual Halloween query is tradition!
posted by carsonb at 8:32 PM on November 8, 2012


Yeah, like the internet is really going to last past the Great Tech Crash of 2021.

I've already started setting up a massive crazy-wall of old magazine clippings, thumbtacks, string and post-its to facilitate ongoing links and conversation after the Implosion. It'll be located in a secure bunker in the Midwest, I can't say where. MeMail me for your new "login."
posted by Miko at 9:05 PM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Drunken Nate Silver already used the infodump to find the answer and is trolling that user.
posted by cashman at 9:45 PM on November 8, 2012


The original MetaFilter may close up shop, but MetaFilter Babies - in which the mods and users, regardless of age, are all talking baby versions of their current selves and have vivid imaginations - will run for a few seasons. After that, there'll be unsuccessful two-season runs of community weblogs for you to check out, like The New MetaFilter Adventures and The 13 Ghosts of MetaFilter, featuring mathowie's in-your-face nephew as lead mod.

To get your mod fix past that point, you'll just have to scour garage sales for the Cortex with Motorized Ban Hammer action figure, pop in a watch battery, then hold it up to your head.
posted by ignignokt at 9:50 PM on November 8, 2012 [25 favorites]


SHHHHH, can't you see Grandpa and Grandma are trying to moderate?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:01 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I want a Companion to snark into Mefi on the side. The silver ones embedded into the forearm, please.
posted by infini at 11:16 PM on November 8, 2012


will you hand it down to "Mefi: the Next Generation"?

Maybe hire a Cousin Oliver or a Scrappy-Doo?
posted by pracowity at 11:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just wait until all our kids take over MetaFilter and start changing everything.
"Hey hon, do you remember when MeFi used to be blue?"
posted by iamkimiam at 1:13 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


MeFi, now with more Professional White Background for a New Generation!
posted by Deoridhe at 1:44 AM on November 9, 2012


April 23, 2045: Introduction of New MetaFilter
July 10, 2045: New MetaFilter is replaced by MetaFilter Classic after massive user backlash
January 18, 2053: Introduction of MeFi Clear ("A keyboard-full of flavour")

It is suspected that New MetaFilter was merely a marketing ploy after a jump in subscribers with the re-introduction of the site's old formula.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 2:20 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there a disaster plan? Not like, "Oh, dear. The database server crashed." but "Oh, dear. America has crashed. WWIII. Time to descend to the bunker, boot up quonsarnet, and post something on the sidebar."
posted by pracowity at 2:46 AM on November 9, 2012


I just love the way mathowie has resisted the temptation to post a response.

Or perhaps he just didn't feel tempted...
posted by aqsakal at 2:57 AM on November 9, 2012


Matt glides effortlessly above the fray like a duck or a unicorn.
posted by arcticseal at 3:50 AM on November 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I suspect #1 has way more experience than anyone else on here navigating the labyrinth that is MetaFilter.
posted by infini at 4:06 AM on November 9, 2012


I am interested to learn that is what ducks and unicorns do!
posted by winna at 4:21 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: My brain-free associates. All over the place. When I'm trying to fall asleep.
 
posted by Herodios at 4:41 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wasn't there a MeTa a few years ago that wanted to see Matt's will?
posted by gerryblog at 4:43 AM on November 9, 2012


Yo if we're gettin all Next Generation I'm calling dibs on being the Worf right now

I'm'a brood and eat worms
posted by Greg Nog at 4:56 AM on November 9, 2012


Succession planning for websites is really complex and also, given the relative youth of the internet at +/- 20 years, largely uncharted. There are probably 20 ways Matt could slice this and I don't think any of them are our business until one happens.

Which is not to say I don't want to know because a) I am nosey and b) we are also doing succession planning so I want to know what other folks are doing, but still none of my business. Alas.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:06 AM on November 9, 2012


Once the Singularity occurs the moderators will simply become Metafilter, so I wouldn't worry too much.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:34 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wasn't there a MeTa a few years ago that wanted to see Matt's will?

Trump called, he said "The hell with the will, I want his birth certificate!"...
posted by HuronBob at 5:35 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the "next" Metafilter won't be the rollicking adventure through (cyber) space we all remember, but a more serious, intense version. 40,000 (give or take) members looking for a server to settle down and discuss links. The same contentious members will be banned, only to show up again and again. pb will go rogue and delete the code allowing Brand New Days, so that when they're banned, they're banned forever. Eventually we will find a server to share with some of our less-enlightened internet brethren and try to forge a new home on the internet.

And we will never find out exactly what jessamyn is.
posted by dogmom at 5:52 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is clearly "none of my business" but is also "super interesting to think about". - Zagat's Guide to MetaTalk.
posted by josher71 at 6:10 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


when you're tired of running the show

"...und die Erde erbebte, und der Vorhang zerriss in zwei Stücke..." tremolo chords in the entire orchestra à la Bach's St. John's Passion, with an added cyberstorm across the lands, and a hurfdurf party in the dark part of the city. A large florescent "WHAT" illuminates the skies.
posted by Namlit at 6:26 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Matt glides effortlessly

So effortlessly that you wouldn't know he's been in this thread, taking note of each comment, helping us with our grammar issues, giving everything a light dusting, and leaving behind a slight smell of lilacs, as he does with every thread, every day, on every part of the sight.

Professional white lilacs.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:00 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Where's his degree symbol?
posted by infini at 7:10 AM on November 9, 2012


Fahrenheit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:40 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the future blogs will be as MUDS are now.
posted by edgeways at 8:37 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


There've been questions about the nature of Matt's obligation, if any, to the userbase that creates his content and the possibility of selling or passing on the site to someone else for as long as I can remember.

They pretty much never get answered, which is perhaps just fine.
posted by mediareport at 9:01 AM on November 9, 2012


Matt glides effortlessly

THE NEW FAST AUTOMATIC METAFILTER
with apologies to Adrian Henri (and William Wordsworth)

I wandered lonely as
THE NEW FAST AUTOMATIC METAFILTER,
FULLY AUTOMATIC
that floats on high o'er vales and hills
MetaFilter is generously dimensioned to accommodate four
adult subscribers
10,000 saw I at a glance
Nodding their new anatomically shaped heads in sprightly
dance
Beside the lake beneath the trees
in three bright modern colours
green, blue and professional white
MetaFilter de luxe is equipped with a host of useful
accessories
including ban hammers and comment formatting with edit control
MetaFilter doubles the enjoyment of snarking at home or
abroad
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 9:16 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


DURABLE STASIS PODS!
posted by clavdivs at 9:17 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I need you to go out to Sector C sometime today and replace a moderation unit."

"Which one?"

"It's the old C.O.R.T.E.X. unit. It's got a sticker on the box that looks like a big donut. You can't miss it."

"Oh, the cortex unit. What happened to it?"

"It's worn out. This is the third time that it's replaced every comment in a MetaTalk thread with 'You kids get off my lawn!'"

"OK, I'll change that out. Should take me about an hour."

"Take your time, we're not busy today. Just put the old unit in the scrap heap with the others."
posted by double block and bleed at 9:19 AM on November 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Message in my Sweet Leaf Tea cap today:

"Everything in moderation, including moderation."
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 11:36 AM on November 9, 2012


'Jessamyn' and 'Cortex' aren't real names. They're code names, like Bond.
posted by mazola at 12:29 PM on November 9, 2012


cortex, this may look like an ordinary doughnut; but press this sprinkle like so and out pops a banhammer.
posted by arcticseal at 12:43 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Orignal Matt has been retired for years. It is sort of like dread pirate roberts.
posted by humanfont at 6:22 PM on November 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


It is my fervent hope that all future mods be chosen via Thunderdome.

I think it would need to be Nerd Thunderdome, wouldn't it?

Which reminds me of the closest thing I've ever seen to what that might be. When I was in college, a friend of mine got into a nerd battle with another guy on workstations in the computer science lab. It kind of escalated from each of them annoying the other by popping up random windows (like xclocks) on each other's screens into something a little more aggressive. Eventually, each of them was logged in to the other's machine and running scripts that popped up hundreds of xclocks and other things all over the screen, making it difficult to do anything at all. Perhaps on the theory that it would slow the machine down, my friend's opponent made the mistake of launching a bunch of emacs windows on my friend's workstation. My friend calmly brought one of them to the foreground, hit "M-x shell", logged into his opponent's workstation *as his opponent* and logged him out of his own workstation. WINNER
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:00 AM on November 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


A dead Quaker, that was dramatic as hell! A good movie-ender.
posted by ignignokt at 11:33 AM on November 10, 2012


HUNGER GAMES: MOD EDITION! Who knows, maybe the future MetaFilter matthowie replacement brouhaha is what destroys society as we know it and creates the various districts and the need for the Games? Or, perhaps we go the way of Divergent and pick our factions and one class gets to become the ruling class?
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:07 PM on November 10, 2012


The mods actually all have Merlin Sickness. This is why they can handle moderating at all: the staleness of any given Perpetual Flamewar Topic diminishes for them over time, becoming fresher and more insightful as they recall less and less of its intolerable future.

This doesn't solve the problem of replacing them when the time comes, but it makes it significantly more adorable.
posted by ead at 10:36 PM on November 10, 2012


We could just clone the mods, or copy their brains into new robot bodies.
Hell, we could do the whole userbase.
Then no one would leave.
No one could leave.
posted by Mezentian at 11:38 PM on November 10, 2012


Cortex ages backwards, he's like Merlin but with more jokes about your mom.
posted by iamabot at 9:44 PM on November 11, 2012


Why does MetaFilter need to last forever and ever, amen?

MetaFilter is a human project. Like all human projects, it's had a beginning and at some point, it will have an end.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:55 AM on November 12, 2012


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