Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Help Fund MetaFilter
May 21, 2014 9:20 AM   Subscribe

We've set up an official fundraising/​contributing/​support page here, and are now tracking the number of people signing on as monthly supporters.

When I posted the announcement about layoffs, I knew it would send shockwaves, but what I didn't expect was the outpouring of desire to help. I mean I knew people wanted to help, but what really drove it home was the hundreds of donations that flew in from PayPal. Then people figured out how to make the payments recurring, which blew me away further.

We decided to formalize it a bit with a central page for collecting funds. We've imported all the previous people that contributed and it looks like as of now, already 230 people have signed up to support MetaFilter on a monthly basis. In a perfect world, if that number was in the several thousands, we could actually start thinking about eliminating ads and Google from MeFi entirely, but in a realistic world, I think it'd be great to get towards 1,000 monthly supporters.

We're going to be adding an optional line to user pages that denotes you are helping fund MeFi, and that should roll out later today. We'll also be sending out an automatic email to every previous supporter to let them optionally tie the old donations to their user account here. Everyone using the new funding page will be automatically marked from here on out.

I also wrote a more general overview of the entire situation over at Medium, if you'd like to know more about the background of what went down.
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 9:20 AM (1149 comments total) 136 users marked this as a favorite

Two hundred and thirty-firsties!
posted by Etrigan at 9:26 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Groovy, does it also get a space on the ... I dunno what you call it, where the "Home", "FAQ", "Achives" links are up the top of the page I'm looking at right now. You know the place. Anyway - will the FundMe page get a link there?
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:26 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


232!
posted by infinitewindow at 9:27 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


A. count me in for something.

B. I don't need my contribution to be noted, but if you're looking for a perk to offer contributors, what about something like one extra AskMe per week?

C. this probably isn't the thread to have conversations about things like B.
posted by philip-random at 9:27 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Anyway - will the FundMe page get a link there?

We're still thinking through the details, but some sort of permanent visible link on the interface seems like a good idea, yes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:28 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


Thanks for being so transparent and forthcoming about this, Matt. That Medium post was very enlightening but also infuriating. The last time I was this pissed off at Google, they'd just decide to sunset Google Reader - this feels like more of the same bullshit from a corporation who couldn't care less about actual content and engagement. (Yes, I know, silly me to expect differently.)

It turns out my previous recurring donation didn't actually take because PayPal is silly, but I'm in for $10 a month for real this time, and will up that when I'm in a better place. Hell, I'll scale back Hulu and Netflix and my Starbucks habit any day before I scale back my contribution to this wonderful little corner of the internet.
posted by Phire at 9:29 AM on May 21 [46 favorites]


deux-cents-trente-deuxième !
posted by fraula at 9:30 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


In a perfect world, if that number was in the several thousands, we could actually start thinking about eliminating ads and Google from MeFi entirely, but in a realistic world, I think it'd be great to get towards 1,000 monthly supporters.

As much as the Google Wars should be publicized and it's to MetaFilter's advantage to diversify, I'd also like to see some of this money going to making sure there are humane staffing choices being made for the people who are left doing more with less. I'm fine with my decision and it wasn't purely a money one, but I feel like a public acknowledgement that optimal staffing levels are somewhere between where we were and where we're going to be, and a commitment to trying to attain that would be appreciated.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:31 AM on May 21 [128 favorites]


<3 the Nighthawks picture at the start of the Medium article :)
posted by Wordshore at 9:31 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


the quidnunc kid: " Anyway - will the FundMe page get a link there?"

Yeah, IIRC, only 2% of the site's visitors read MetaTalk.

Hope you're going to post a link to the Help Fund Metafilter page on every single subsite to take advantage of the larger audience of all visitors.
posted by zarq at 9:32 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Uncle Billy, Mary, and the crowd come into the living room. A
table stands in front of George. George picks up Zuzu to
protect her from the mob. Uncle Billy dumps the basketful of
money out onto the table – the money overflows and falls all
over.

UNCLE BILLY: Isn't it wonderful?

The rest of the crowd all greet George with greetings and
smiles. Each one comes forward with money. In their pockets,
in shoe boxes, in coffee pots. Money pours onto the table –
pennies, dimes, quarters, dollar bills – small money, but
lots of it. Mrs. Bailey and Mrs. Hatch push toward George.
More people come in. The place becomes a bedlam. Shouts of
"Gangway – gangway" as a new bunch comes in and pours out
its money. Mary stands next to George, watching him. George
stands there overcome and speechless as he holds Zuzu.
As he sees the familiar faces, he gives them sick grins. Tears
course down his face. His lips frame their names as he greets
them.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:33 AM on May 21 [19 favorites]


I'm very glad you're doing this.
posted by anastasiav at 9:33 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Done.
posted by josher71 at 9:34 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


We're still thinking through the details, but some sort of permanent visible link on the interface seems like a good idea, yes.

Cool. Also: Matt's Medium article is very interesting; thanks for your excellent and ongoing provision of information on this issue.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:34 AM on May 21


mathowie: "We're going to be adding an optional line to user pages that denotes you are helping fund MeFi, and that should roll out later today. We'll also be sending out an automatic email to every previous supporter to let them optionally tie the old donations to their user account here. Everyone using the new funding page will be automatically marked from here on out."

The option to turn it on and off has already been added and is under "Contact / Privacy Preferences." It appears to be on by default.

Thank you, Matt. Good luck.
posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Nthing that the article was fascinating, and that I really appreciate the incredibly easy monthly contribution option.

Click click done!

Thank you!
posted by Kpele at 9:37 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I feel like a public acknowledgement that optimal staffing levels are somewhere between where we were and where we're going to be, and a commitment to trying to attain that would be appreciated.

Definitely. We haven't tried the new setup yet, but we'll definitely be trying to streamline things and figure out what the best balance is. It's likely another person on staff would make that much easier on everyone, but I'd like to run with the new setup for a couple months and reassess after.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:39 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


Yay, this is great news.

It feels so good to be able to give back. MeFi has given us all so much.
posted by alms at 9:42 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Anybody have an idea what that peak in January in the AskMe traffic graph is about? Let's do more of that.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:42 AM on May 21


Glad to help.
posted by griphus at 9:43 AM on May 21


Anybody have an idea what that peak in January in the AskMe traffic graph is about?

Matt mentioned it in the article: it was this question going viral.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:44 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


For recurring payments, think about Paypal fees. Assuming MeFi is using the basic PayPal fee structure (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction), if you're sending Matt $1/month, PayPal is keeping about a third of that. If it's within your means, a one off payment might be a better option.
posted by zamboni at 9:44 AM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Matt mentioned it in the article: it was this question going viral.

OK, let's solve some more decades-old seemingly intractable mysteries then. You guys do that, I'll work on my reading comprehension for a while.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:46 AM on May 21 [21 favorites]


We just need to get the "how to dispose of a body" question to go viral every few months.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:47 AM on May 21 [10 favorites]


Per Toekneesan, It's a Wonderful Metafilter.
posted by alms at 9:47 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that question was covered in slate.
posted by zarq at 9:47 AM on May 21


Matt could you clarify something? In this comment in the state of the site thread you said the layoffs would put Metafilter back in the black (for now). The Medium piece seems to imply an ongoing net loss: "But at this point with recent shifts in search traffic and ad revenue MetaFilter is now losing several thousand dollars per month..."

I think this is just a past/present tense confusion thing, because on rereading it it seems like this part of the article is narrating the process that led to the layoff announcement, but could you clarify that this is the case?
posted by Wretch729 at 9:49 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Awesome. I already give monthly to the Internet Archive, so I guess I'm already supporting Jessamyn. So now I can support the rest of you wonderful people.
posted by zsazsa at 9:50 AM on May 21


I totally understand the Paypal fee issue, but the benefit of the recurring donation thing seems to me to be that it gives matthowie a sense of how much money is going to come in every month, which makes things more stable than just having a bunch of one-off donations. It may be that people will donate again in a year, but it may be that they'll have moved on to some other pressing financial priority. Do you have a preference, Matt?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:50 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Bug Report: The $50 one-time option actually only gives $5.
posted by vacapinta at 9:52 AM on May 21


I think this is just a past/present tense confusion thing

Yeah, just muddled tense. There was some collaborative editing on the draft that probably led to a couple accidental misfixes in places. The current situation is we're in the black specifically and only because we're letting people go and thus cutting payroll costs.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:52 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


I think this is just a past/present tense confusion thing, because on rereading it it seems like this part of the article is narrating the process that led to the layoff announcement, but could you clarify that this is the case?

Yeah, that describes the current situation right now, but after June 1st, we'll no longer be losing money but breaking even. I guess it does mix up the tenses in the essay, but I hadn't mentioned layoffs until the very end, so it's kind of describing the before and current situation.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:52 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I'm fine with my decision and it wasn't purely a money one, but I feel like a public acknowledgement that optimal staffing levels are somewhere between where we were and where we're going to be, and a commitment to trying to attain that would be appreciated.

This is something I have been thinking, essentially: That with the commitment of recurrent donations, perhaps the question of how many layoffs could be revisited. I get that Jessamyn is moving on for other reasons but perhaps one of the part-time mods could be kept. The staff is small enough that losing three mods at once sounds like a really big hit. Losing two might be more tolerable and ease the transition.

Just my 2 cents and I am glad Jessamyn said something about it before me.
posted by Michele in California at 9:54 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Will there eventually be a non-paypal option, or are they the only game in town?
posted by Dip Flash at 9:54 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Will there eventually be a non-paypal option, or are they the only game in town?

We were considering Stripe for payments too, but it'll take a few days to hammer out code against their API.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:55 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


AFAIK both Paypal and Amazon payments offer micropayment discounts, and take a smaller cut of payments under $10. Would that matter in this case?
posted by Wretch729 at 9:56 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Here's a question: have you considered going 501c3? You can still have salaries as a non-profit.
posted by eamondaly at 9:56 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


This is good. Can you also add any affiliate links you participate in to the page? I know there's Amazon, but maybe there are more as well.
posted by boo_radley at 9:57 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Any interest in cryptocurrency donations? I will give Metafilter all of my Dogecoin. I'm not even joking.
posted by Gordafarin at 9:57 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]



Will there eventually be a non-paypal option, or are they the only game in town?


my 83 year old mom would join (and donate) in a second if she could just send somebody a check. That's how she does things.
posted by philip-random at 9:57 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


There is a mailing address on that page. So cough it up, Mrs. Random.
posted by Think_Long at 9:58 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Any interest in cryptocurrency donations?

The thought is nice but the added complication of handling various cryptos in the face of very little demand (or, well, whatever the word is for people demanding to give you money) makes it not a priority. Cashing out your crypto to USD or whatever and then plugging that into the donation page would be a lot more useful for us in the short term, basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:59 AM on May 21


Bug Report: The $50 one-time option actually only gives $5.

Thanks, should be working now.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:59 AM on May 21


The non-profit question is important, I think. If the funding model is going to change to one that is heavily or even primarily community funded, the governance model probably needs to change to reflect that as well.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:59 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


A non-profit shaped Metafilter is something that has been in the back of my mind for a few days when all this started. It does seem like it'd make sense if it got to the point that a large number of us were donating.
posted by ElliotH at 10:00 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I love that you had to put the FundMe page together quickly because people started throwing money at you, and you were all: "aw shit now we're getting pledge drived. Another goddam thing to fix on this site." ;-)
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:03 AM on May 21 [78 favorites]


have you considered going 501c3

I kind of wish people would stop suggesting that. AFAIK, this business is run as a sole proprietorship (I am inferring that based on a few remarks Matt has made about things "running through his bank accounts") which is the simplest legal set up you can do. I believe setting up a 501c3 is fairly complex, kind of like setting up a corporation. I had a directorship for a website thingy that was trying to make that transition (and never did). You need a board of directors and crap like that. It's not just "Look, we do good! So, you know, don't tax our cashola like a business, k? thx!"

Also (I know this showed up repeatedly in the behemoth other thread but seems to bear repeating):

If you'd rather not use PayPal

Mail a check to:

MetaFilter Network Inc.
1271 NE Hwy 99W #109
McMinnville, OR 97128
posted by Michele in California at 10:04 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Moving to a non-profit is a huge project, but something I'd definitely consider if we were really getting towards being mostly member supported. In reality right now, we're talking the support so far could account for maybe 5% of our monthly ad revenue, but with ad revenue fluctuating 5-10%, that's a big help and buffer.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:04 AM on May 21 [17 favorites]


It's a totally reasonable comment and not particularly daunting to accomplish.

Just personally, I'm happy to pay for commercial service (eg Pandora or the sign up fee here), and to donate to non-profits that I support (eg our imaginary future non-profit metafilter). I'm probably not ever going to donate to a for-profit company.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:08 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Did the do and it seems to have taken this time. I'm also wonderfully stealth due to not using the same payment details as for my account I gather. Do you guys have a preference as to whether we leave the profile-message on or off? I'm not bothered either way but I guess long term it's perhaps a nice reminder to passers by that the possibility to kick in exists? Will follow whatever you guys recommend.
posted by Iteki at 10:09 AM on May 21


So glad this is happening. Thanks for importing all of us previous people over. When I first read this, my first thought was okay, how do I close out my previous recurring donation and move it over to the new donation page. So glad to see that you guys have taken care of that for me. Thanks !!

I think you really made the right call on the only perk being an optional line on the users page. I was uncomfortable with stars next to user names on posts and comments. Great job!

If any of this money could bring back Jessamyn in even just a small part-time capacity that would be great. I'm sad over losing lm and gnfti, but I'm still really struggling to accept the loss of Jessamyn.
posted by marsha56 at 10:10 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Actually signed up for $5/month recurring now. Thought the donation I'd made yesterday would be recurring, but apparently I wasn't clever enough!

I'm really so pleased to be able to help out, even in a small way such as this, and know it's got the potential to make a difference.

Thanks so much for all you guys do (including setting up the funding page!). It does not go unnoticed.
posted by juliebug at 10:11 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Do you guys have a preference as to whether we leave the profile-message on or off?

Entirely a matter of personal preference. We included the option because we wanted to acknowledge some folks had asked to be able to disable it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:11 AM on May 21


Will there eventually be a non-paypal option, or are they the only game in town?

We were considering Stripe for payments too, but it'll take a few days to hammer out code against their API.


Flattr, too? :)
(Sorry about being pushy about this but living in this particular corner of the world Flattr is a good convenient alternative to PayPal. (Plus, I've witnessed PayPal locking the accounts of my favorite sites before, so I'm trying to avoid them whenever possible.))

Thanks!
posted by bigendian at 10:11 AM on May 21


Cool. I'm in.

WePay might also be a good option for the non-PayPal-minded, depending on how people feel about this unfortunate situation.
posted by FrauMaschine at 10:16 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Is the donation text showing on user pages yet? I don't see it on mine, although I do see that the preference is there and checked.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:16 AM on May 21


Re: the 501c3 thing - part of the problem with going in that direction is that it would introduce huge new levels of headaches with arguably little benefits. Yeah, Metafilter and Metafilter donors would get some tax breaks. Metafilter itself might get some sizeable-ish ones, but most members donating in the under $100 a year range wouldn't really benefit all that much.

In Oregon (don't know about other states, but Oregon is the relevant one here anyway), to qualify as an NPO you have to have 3+ board members, comply with regular audits (if you're above a certain revenue threshold), file a bunch of additional paperwork. I mean, it's a nice sentiment, but I think the reality is that it might be more hassle than it's worth in the long run. I guess it wouldn't be too hard to have someone run the numbers, but that's my 2 cents as someone who works in the NPO admin world.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:16 AM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Is the donation text showing on user pages yet? I don't see it on mine, although I do see that the preference is there and checked.

Not quite yet, pb is still getting a couple of cogs in place.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:17 AM on May 21


Dr Dracator: Anybody have an idea what that peak in January in the AskMe traffic graph is about?

We had a deal, Kyle: Matt mentioned it in the article: it was this question going viral.

Discussed here on MetaTalk.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:19 AM on May 21


Not quite yet, pb is still getting a couple of cogs in place.

If you donate right now while logged in you're likely to get the message. We're still working on a system for folks who donated yesterday or earlier today to get the message. As Matt mentioned in the post:
We'll also be sending out an automatic email to every previous supporter to let them optionally tie the old donations to their user account here.
So if you donated earlier you'll be getting an email at some point with instructions.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:19 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I mean, 501c3 would open up Metafilter to additional funding opportunities, but I can't see that Metafilter would ever really want that. You start being beholden to all your funding sources and such, and like - I think part of why Metafilter works so well is because at the end of the day the buck stops with Matt. I'm not sure Metafilter would work as well if it had to shift its mission from being "cool shit on the web" to some social welfare/education/etc etc whatever.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:19 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


I subscribed yesterday, do I need to tell anyone or am in included in the elite 232?
posted by shothotbot at 10:21 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


You should take this money and hire professional fund raisers and then thake that money to hire more until the world's economy is people supporting metafilter or employed by metafilter.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:21 AM on May 21 [18 favorites]


cortex: "Not quite yet, pb is still getting a couple of cogs in place."

Well, there's your problem - cogs were superseded by hulks in the late Middle Ages.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:21 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


I subscribed yesterday, do I need to tell anyone or am in included in the elite 232?

You'll be getting an email at some point today with instructions.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:23 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I'm in. At least for now. I tend to suspend my account a lot, since I have no willpower or resistance, and yet I often have other projects to work on.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:24 AM on May 21


What surprised and disappointed me is that one of the first Official MetaFilter Shirts at Topatoco clearly stated "If You're Not Paying For It, You're Not The Customer, You're The Product Being Sold" and yet Matt didn't really realize that relying on Google's Ad Algorithm was indeed making us, the readers and participants, into the Product, and "monetizing the site" on somebody else's terms. Which is not a formula for success on any level. So let me put on my 'smart website manager' hat... waitaminute, I don't have one of those; I've never made a financially viable website... so let me just reach for some 'common sense in the cruel capitalist world' ideas...

I could say that relying on what Matt himself called "PayPal’s crude tools" for fundraising is a similar long-run mistake - if depending on Google too much is dumb, depending on PayPal too much is dumber. On preview, I see that Matt is addressing this. Patreon is showing how individual creatives can take charge of fundraising without turning themselves into 501c3's, and Matt should give this direction more consideration.

Advertising income-wise, the creation of FanFare in response to the shutdown of TWOP should be fairly valuable... a more user-centric (and intelligent-user-centric) media discussion site (like an AVClub that is genuinely a CLUB) has real potential, but may require more aggressive promotion just to show the Internet it exists.

Projects is also a sadly underutilized resource here, considering how many members are actively involved elsewhere on the Web. (And yes, monetizable - if a blogger wants to put a self-link to every post they make at their own site, charge it as native advertising...) Yes, I'm suggesting native advertising - as much as it may feel like Turning Into The Man, taking more control of MetaFilter's own advertising content (and even paying someone on a commission basis - NO SALARIED SALESPEOPLE/FUNDRAISERS - to put better ads than "ONE WEIRD TIP" onto the site).

Honestly, as a loooongtime member whose involvement with AskMe has been minimal, I definitely feel like I owe this place more than I have given - and that's even after 15 years of being part of the Product Being Sold.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:25 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


What cjorgensen said.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:26 AM on May 21


This situation has brought me back out of hiding as a filthy lurker. MetaFilter remains one of the few required daily visits for me on the web, as it has been for well over a decade. Count me in for a monthly contribution.
posted by typewritersball at 10:28 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


I can't find the $million button.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:29 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


That's because that's a variable. Not a button. Look in the source code. It's there.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:31 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


The "Product Being Sold" shirt was kind of crazy, in that it was actually a product that was sold too. I thought it was a tongue in cheek joke of a phrase to put on a shirt, it's how I feel at Facebook every day, but yeah, to some extent, it is how things work on Ask MeFi as well.

The upside of moving away from ad revenue for support of the site is that we get to build things people want instead of trying to think of ways to not annoy everyone with too many ads.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:31 AM on May 21 [20 favorites]


But when I bought a "Product Being Sold" shirt, I knew that I was being the customer...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:34 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


After the announcement yesterday and the surge of donations I was kind of reluctant to donate because it seemed like a one-time influx of cash wouldn't really solve a problem. But now that it's been formalized it seems like it might actually help.

I realized I subscribe to cable TV, Netflix, Tivo, a couple magazines I hardly read, a Sunday newspaper whose primary use is to light fires in the fireplace, and who knows what else. None of those things have impacted my life the way Metafilter has.

Thanks, Matt, for creating this place all those years ago, and for growing it the way you've grown it. I hope my measly little subscription can help y'all keep it afloat.
posted by bondcliff at 10:36 AM on May 21 [22 favorites]


Suggestion: link the "Display Funding Message" preference item to the FundMe page, the same way that the IRL alert and MeFi Mail items are linked to explanations to what that preference item actually does. I could see that being confusing for people who don't know the context.
posted by Phire at 10:36 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's a good point, we have a FAQ entry we can link to.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:38 AM on May 21


Metafilter: still getting a couple of cogs in place.
posted by Melismata at 10:42 AM on May 21


How about we set up system to monetize reverse favorites.

Kinda like Pottery Barn, except: You say it, you pay for it!

Oh lord, my lips are sealed.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:44 AM on May 21


My two cents, as someone who has already set up a monthly donation and will continue to donate unless my personal financial situation becomes dire, is that the additional headache of setting up as a 501c3 helps to legitimize an organization in my mind as one that is explicitly set up to responsibly receive and manage donations.

I donate to Maximum Fun now and again as a lump donation. It is not a 501c3 and I have gotten irritated before multiple times when Jesse mentions some expensive thing that he's been doing. I think, well I don't have fancy new shoes and I didn't go on a european vacation, yet I'm donating to you? Then I wonder why Jesse's wife is on the staff instead of using her law degree to bring in additional income, and why there are all these other shows that I don't listen to that are now under the Maximum Fun umbrella...I don't like having these thoughts. I think that they happen because I'm forced to price my own investment in a business as a customer, and that is kind of weird.

It makes it worse that there isn't a lot of clarity about the business model: per month donation packages range from $5 to $200 (!) per month and there isn't a clear sense of what it actually takes to run the business and what part is going into the fancy shoe fund. Not that Jesse doesn't deserve fancy shoes; he does! I just don't understand to what extent I'm paying for a product and to what extent I'm contributing to the fancy shoe budget.

Conversely I don't worry about Ira Glass's fancy shoes or whatever because I trust that that there is a layer of oversight that is set up to manage donations responsibly, pay fair market salaries, etc. This American Life is also much more upfront about the actual costs of running the operation, which I really like.

I'm also comfortable paying for a service from a business-like with the old Never Not Funny model. $20 per season, that's just how much it costs, take it or leave it. I understand that this way of doing things leaves out people who can't afford to pay-but if you're not a nonprofit, that's kind of how it's supposed to work.

I don't care at all about the tax break; almost always we just take the standard deduction anyway in my house.

In lieu of 501c3 I would feel more comfortable if the donation page was up front about how much it takes to pay your fair share. "It takes $10 a month in donations per person to make Metafilter work the way we want, if you can't pay that it's cool, if you can pay more that is also cool!"
posted by Kwine at 10:45 AM on May 21 [31 favorites]


Thanks for sharing that article, Matt. Very interesting. I had imagined it was more "we've fallen behind the times" and less "why the fuck does google think AskMe is spam?" garbage. Even more infuriating.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 10:45 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Re what luto said: Grant money would open up if you became a not-for-profit but plenty of NPO's apply for grant money and then find their core program dying on the vine while they chase grant money, which always comes with a shit ton of strings attached. If you think Google is an Evil Overlord for having a hissy when you talk about sex or cutting your funding by changing the algorithm, you really don't want grant money.

In addition to the donation page, I really think selling cool shit is the way to go. Given that MetaFilter is a site for reading about and discussing cool stuff on the web, I think cool stuff on a t-shirt, mug, whatever, is an excellent fit. It looks to me like you haven't really pursued that in earnest. Putting metafilter.com in small lettering at the bottom of the Cool Saying on the product could also serve as advertising for the site out there, IRL.

But actually find a way to make it Cool. And maybe note that if someone really just wants to support the site and isn't really that jazzed about wearing Funny T-Shirt, they should just pony up at the donate button because Matt and Co will get a much bigger slice of that pie. (If they pay $20 for a t-shirt and you get, say, $2 of that, they can give $5 or $10 to the site and benefit Metafilter much more. So the t-shirts need to be cool in their own right, not just an excuse to support the site. Supporting the site directly is better if they don't actually adore the t-shirt/mug/whatever.)
posted by Michele in California at 10:45 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


You'll be getting an email at some point today with instructions.

Delightfully conspiratorial.
posted by shothotbot at 10:47 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


$10/month from me. I will watch for a non-Paypal option so you get the full amount or as close to it as possible.

I figure even if I stop coming here I can still keep it trickling, for all the years of quality content consumed.
posted by Dragonness at 10:49 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Thanks for putting this up and making it easy. I was too lazy to read through everything in the earlier thread. I'm happy that I'm lucky enough to be in a stable financial situation and can throw a few dollars a month toward this wonderful place. Since I've been visiting just about daily for the past 10+ years I'm really in arrears anyway.
posted by Cuke at 10:49 AM on May 21


range from $5 to $200 (!) per month

The top monthly one is $20, but I understand your other concerns. It's a difficult thing to handle.

Other sites (reddit, fark, etc) operate more as money-for-features, with things like increased stats, capabilities, etc. The Never Not Funny model works because they give out a crippled (first 20min?) podcast and you have to pay to get the full thing. I can't imagine either working well for MeFi.

The consensus of the last thread was don't make a tiered userbase where some get special treatment, and people wanted to give money with minimal indication that they did without any special features. Someday, it'd be great to just say 5,000 people giving $100/yr would be able to fund a staff of 5-6 total, ad-free, but that's a pretty big moonshot to go for.

This is the start of trying to solidify support from users, and while we might be at only 5% of the advertising money that comes in, it gives MeFi a bit more comfortable cushion in the wake of various Google adjustments. Perhaps in a year or two from now if the monthly support approached 20% of ad revenue or 50% we could start removing ads and putting up a fundraiser to remove them completely.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:54 AM on May 21 [13 favorites]


B. I don't need my contribution to be noted, but if you're looking for a perk to offer contributors, what about something like one extra AskMe per week?

Sounds a bit like Reddit Gold. I was given Gold once and it is basically nothing special, people just buy it for others when they like something their post/comment/whatever. I imagine people buy it themselves too just to help out the site.
posted by Hoopo at 10:56 AM on May 21


man, that's an idea. What if we could donate $ based on specific comments, then on the side bar there'd be something called, like, "Reasons to support mefi" or "support-worthy comments" etc., which would show all those comments?
posted by rebent at 11:01 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


OK, when do I get my super secret decoder ring which will let me decode secret messages from mathowie?
posted by govtdrone at 11:01 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Re Kwine's concerns:

I think you could address that by putting out info to the effect of "We need X amount to add back one more part-time moderator." or something like that. Most mefites know they get value from the site and do not want it to die, thus the influx of donations. You state what value people can expect for donating and how much you need to accomplish X. (And then don't brag too freely about new shoes, I guess. People gonna people. Not really their business though what shoes you wear.)

Set a clearly stated monthly goal, show progress towards, give cutesy virtual goods for higher donations, etc. The Wotch did all this. She did a comic while in college and she made the comic her job/income source. You could look at how she very successfully pursued around $2000/month in donations to keep the comics coming. She also has ads on the site and I don't know what all. But this can be done. You just need to put up a hard number for your goal and tell folks what it is paying for. That's about it. Most folks here don't care what shoes you wear. We just want the site to stay open and also not turn shitty due to some downward spiral on the staffing side.

Just, you know, my 2 cents.
posted by Michele in California at 11:03 AM on May 21


man, that's an idea. What if we could donate $ based on specific comments, then on the side bar there'd be something called, like, "Reasons to support mefi" or "support-worthy comments" etc., which would show all those comments?

These stories might be a place to start.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:08 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


yeah, definitely metafilter needs more gamification, and in app purchases. That'll help make us great like reddit and candy crush!
posted by garlic at 11:09 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


You know it would be entirely possible to make it anonymous and avoid the whole "gamification" thing. A lot of people are already against the whole "favorites" thing so it seems like for Metafilter, such a thing would probably be best hidden somewhat.

Or perhaps not do this at all. I was just saying the suggestion I quoted sounded like what Reddit does. Which is not really a reason to dismiss the concept outright.
posted by Hoopo at 11:14 AM on May 21


Thanks for getting this together, Matt! I've been on MeFi in some form for over a decade and have only contributed a total of $10 -- and my net contribution is probably closer to $0 since I mooched a couple of drink tickets from you at a meetup years back. MeFi has played a significant role in my being a good human, and is one of the few reasons that I continue to enjoy the Internet. It's priceless. I can only afford $5/month right now, but it's long overdue. Reading the Medium piece made me pretty sad, and I hope we can turn this thing around.

Now to send a thank-you postcard to Jessamyn...
posted by cosmologinaut at 11:14 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Look, you're not going to get anywhere unless you put a big fundraising thermometer on the front page. That's just how these things are done.
posted by bondcliff at 11:15 AM on May 21 [28 favorites]


Done, thanks for standing this up!
posted by ersatzkat at 11:18 AM on May 21


For my donation, I would just like to know if anybody reads the comments down here.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:20 AM on May 21 [40 favorites]


man, that's an idea. What if we could donate $ based on specific comments, then on the side bar there'd be something called, like, "Reasons to support mefi" or "support-worthy comments" etc., which would show all those comments?

Man all I know is if it weren't for MeFi some dude would still be locked in his bathroom.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:21 AM on May 21 [35 favorites]


How much will you pay me if I tell you?
posted by Think_Long at 11:21 AM on May 21


*I donated at the ZIPPETY BOP level
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:22 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Any chance for something more like an annual subscription? I much prefer that to smaller amounts per month. I went ahead and made a one-time contribution in that range but who knows what if anything I'll remember in a year.

Also, the medium article was very interesting, thanks. (Hopefully might attract some attention internal to google...)
posted by advil at 11:26 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Look, you're not going to get anywhere unless you put a big fundraising thermometer on the front page. That's just how these things are done.


No we need a giant picture of Matt grimacing at us in a vaguely supervillain-esque pose with METAFILTER NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT in 48 point font on each page.
posted by winna at 11:26 AM on May 21 [20 favorites]


I wish people would stop with terms like "elite" and announcing exactly how much they are giving. Everyone appreciates what folks are doing to help keep Metafilter going, but is it really necessary to go into the details?
posted by terrapin at 11:28 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Where's that picture of Matt as Mao?
posted by Chrysostom at 11:33 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


No we need a giant picture of Matt grimacing at us in a vaguely supervillain-esque pose with METAFILTER NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT in 48 point font on each page

Please read: A personal appeal from MetaFilter founder Matt Haughey
posted by aubilenon at 11:33 AM on May 21 [34 favorites]


Everyone appreciates what folks are doing to help keep Metafilter going, but is it really necessary to go into the details?

Well, I think so. I think it's interesting to see people's thinking and how they value something. It's weird to me, since I was going to give a flat $100, but the form said they preferred ongoing. So fine, I did the math and it came out to about the cost of my Netflix account, so I revalued in my head since I would die without Netflix and metafilter is just a distraction for me, and I figured $2 seems fair, but then did that math and $24 seemed skimpy, so I came in at $5. That's $60 a year (see I am good at this math stuff!).

Kwine pretty much encapsulated how I feel about some of this up there. And the person who mentioned giving to a for-profit also nailed it for me. I thought of sponsoring some people that the $5 is a hardship for, but since those are gifted regardless… Anyway.

There's got to be other options, and discussing them is only a good thing in my mind.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:37 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


advil: "Any chance for something more like an annual subscription? I much prefer that to smaller amounts per month. I went ahead and made a one-time contribution in that range but who knows what if anything I'll remember in a year."

If there isn't an automated solution for this (or until there is one), I will totally send a reminder to people in a year/6 months if they would like to send me a friendly reminder.

I am 100% serious about this.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:38 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Chrysostom: "Where's that picture of Matt as Mao?"

Ah, here it is.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:45 AM on May 21 [16 favorites]


what I didn't expect was the outpouring of desire to help

[Matt stumbles, a little crazed, his lip still bleeding, toward the cemetery. We see the curve of the earth
and the landscape beyond: populated by a seemingly endless progression of tombstones and monuments and their grotesque shadows illuminated by a full moon.]

Matt [drunkenly casts his arm as if he were revealing the scary landscape to Josh]
Now what's this? What's all this about?

Josh
This is Ask Yahoo Field, Matt.

Matt
Now just a minute here. I mean... stop fucking with me Josh.

Josh
Every person buried here died from food poisoning, or drank liquor on their meds

Matt
Well that's just silly Josh. I mean, I ate the leftover half of the Reuben that was sitting on
my night table, but I ordered it without the Russian dressing. Everybody knows to toss...

Josh
These people didn't.

Matt
And who the hell drinks when they're taking antibiotics, or...

Josh
These people did, because they trusted the internet.

Matt
Well, they could have just wasted their silly obvious questions on AskMe!

Josh
Your weren't there, so AskMe wasn't there for them Matt!

Matt
Goddamned food poisoning. Jesus...

Josh
You see, Matt, you really have had a wonderful life.

Matt
Ugh, take me back to PDX.

Josh
You owe me a case of beer, Matt.

Matt
Ok ok ok...

posted by Pudhoho at 11:46 AM on May 21 [72 favorites]


Regardless of whether or not MeFi becomes a non-profit (and becoming a 501c3 can entail restrictions on political speech, which might not jibe with MetaFilter), I think a good approach to user-based funding could be to have the funding page available all the time, but a once a year reminder, with a post on MetaTalk and a banner (like the current one going to the "State of MetaFilter" page) that is visible for that month.

I agree with Kwine that, especially if MeFi doesn't become a nonprofit, it's probably still a good idea for there to be some level of transparency about what user-based funding is actually supporting. As an example: woodblock100, who is a traditional Japanese woodblock printmaker, publicly posts a financial statement each year, so his subscribers can see what goes into making his woodblock prints, which, as a subscriber, helps me see that I'm getting a really great deal. I don't think you need to make all your financials available, like he does, but a similar statement specifically about where user-based funding goes would be really appreciated.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:48 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


becoming a 501c3 can entail restrictions on political speech, which might not jibe with MetaFilter

It's a total non-starter, actually. Unless folks decided there would be a very specific shift on how MeFi worked, non-profit status is not a thing that makes any sense at all except that it makes people's donations tax deductible. You'd be better off going with a non-profit "friends" group or something (a foundation?) that was separate from MeFi the sole proprietorship.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:53 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


What I really want is a contribution/subscription option that is in no way tied to my account/username. Presumably I can still do that directly from PayPal, correct?

And yes, people going on about 501c3 bullshit are being totally ridiculous, there would be a ton of administrative work and it would be a ghastly annoyance for everyone involved on the mefi side.
posted by elizardbits at 11:56 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


I totally don't care how you structure yourself or report to us on the usage of the money. Most days I spend more time here than anywhere else on the internet. I am kind of ashamed it's never occurred to me to donate before now. Whatever you guys are doing, you've been doing it right for 15 years and I trust you to keep doing it. MeFi 4 Lyfe.
posted by something something at 11:56 AM on May 21 [19 favorites]


Presumably I can still do that directly from PayPal, correct?

Correct. You can even do it from our funding page by just logging out for the duration of setting up the donation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:57 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


wooo
posted by elizardbits at 11:58 AM on May 21


That would be useful information to have on the funding page itself.

"Don't want your username connected to your donation? If you donate while logged out, the donation will not be connected to your username."
posted by ocherdraco at 11:59 AM on May 21


That would be useful information to have on the funding page itself.

True, but the only consequence of that connection is a note on profile pages. And we have a user preference that allows you turn that off.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:00 PM on May 21


eGullet went the 501c3 route - mostly as a way to attempt to deal with financial problems (the founder basically needed to get paid to keep running the site).

The changes that came along with that were a big part of what took it from the place to talk about food on the web to something of a non-entity. There are of course other reasons as well, but something to think about.
posted by JPD at 12:01 PM on May 21


Excuse me. I'd like to add a note here about giving and recognition.

Yes, Maimonides noted that the second highest form of giving was anonymous to and from the donor and recipient. That is wonderful. Some of us are tzaddiks (righteous ones) and wish to think of ourselves as enlightened. The need to be acknowledged should not be considered a fault, however. We are, each of us, on islands reaching out to each other as best we can. Attention is an important resource. It makes us feel good and loved and special and wanted. That should not be ignored. So whether you want a star or you don't, please let's not fault others for being open enough to say, "I would like to be recognized as part of this community."
posted by Sophie1 at 12:03 PM on May 21 [52 favorites]


Sutpid Ideas.

That are many Sutpid ideas, but these are mine:
  1. Shares.
  2. Naming rights.
  3. Formal sponsorships.
  4. Wishlists.
  5. Metafilter music and writings in iTunes.
  6. Fundraiser.
  7. Ad/funding staffer.
  8. Corporate Sponsorship.
I could probably go on, but I'm somewhat serious on most of these.

1. I'd buy a stake in metafilter. It'd have to be set up to where I'd get something with no risk. So for $1,000 (or whatever) I'm listed as an owner (or shareholder or whatever you call it), but in the event Matt gets sued for everything I don't want to lose my house. In the event he sells to Facebook I want my millions. Get another 100 people to kick in and it's real money. Call it a round of VC money.

2. I'd also buy something dumb outright. Not sure what this would be, but I'd had people do this for some of my projects. I mention I need $180 for acoustical tiles and someone funds it.

3. I don't know what the podcast numbers are, but a "Brought to you by the fine people at…" message before could bring in some cash, no?

4. Sort of like 2, but link to your Amazon wish list. You can add items from anywhere. If I buy something it gets a mention in the podcast or maybe there's a monthly meta thanking that month's contributors?

5. There's a lot of writers and tech nerds in the wing. Put a collection of short stories on sale or a curated box set of music. People would contribute. People would buy.

6. An actual fundraiser with a fundraising period. Put together some fun activities and prizes and give some rewards and such. Maybe lock the front page to only those who have donated (for posting, not commenting).

7. Pay someone and set them lose on getting funds. Seriously, real ads pay way better than anything google will sell. You just have to have an ad person. I worked with online advertisers for 13 years. They said a google ad paid less than 10% of what a regular ad sold for. Google and junk ads are only for when ad space goes unsold.

8. I wouldn't object to a banner ad for pair.com (as an example). I already see their ads everywhere (since I host with them and I guess I get tracked). Rather than get a dime for running their ad approach directly and get your $1.

This is probably why I still work a 40 hour a week job.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:03 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I would love a recurring non-Paypal option, personally. That's just a general thing, not specifically a donating-to-metafilter thing.

I don't know how it works in the US, and given that I'm in the UK there might be fees and whatever, but through my bank account, I can send someone else money, to their bank account, on a recurring basis. I'd be happy to do that and avoid Paypal's fees. Is this a non-starter or maybe something I should look into a little deeper?
posted by Solomon at 12:05 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Also: I know we are all doing our typical MeFi thing, which is "LET'S FIND THE ABSOLUTE MOST OPTIMAL SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM!" but I want to be clear that I am (and I feel certain many others are) extremely grateful that Matt and the mod team are allowing us the opportunity to help at all, whether financially, or through community input via MetaTalk.

pb: "True, but the only consequence of that connection is a note on profile pages. And we have a user preference that allows you turn that off."

I don't think that's quite true, is it? The only visible connection is the profile page thing, but there must be some database that connects the donation to user number and/or email. I'm sure there are some users who would like to donate completely anonymously, with no record tying them to the donation beyond the email address provided to PayPal (I presume y'all see that), which may very well be a completely different email address than the one associated with their MetaFilter account.

It would just be a nice line to add to alert people that it's possible to donate anonymously.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:06 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Formal donation process completed. Please put a link to funding.mefi on the blue, green and fanfare. There are so many people on ask.me who never/rarely leave the site and will not see this meta!

Oh, another thing: does the supporter counter only count completed transactions or is it like the user numbers here?
posted by travelwithcats at 12:07 PM on May 21


Yeah, count me among those who see no need for any perks or structural changes. I trust you'll use the donations wisely while still giving yourselves and the mods whatever salary they deserve.

And if tomorrow Google untweaks their algorithm and you suddenly find yourself making ad money again, take our donations and buy a shitload of donuts or something.
posted by bondcliff at 12:10 PM on May 21 [10 favorites]


Is this a non-starter or maybe something I should look into a little deeper?

It doesn't work between US and International banks though, so probably best to leave the idea be. We're working on one-time payments via Stripe, which accepts currencies from around the world and is totally Not PayPal.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:10 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


but through my bank account, I can send someone else money, to their bank account, on a recurring basis. I'd be happy to do that and avoid Paypal's fees. Is this a non-starter or maybe something I should look into a little deeper?

This is basically not a thing that happens in the US, because of reasons that I have yet to figure out. Friends and I have tried to work something similar from AU to the US, and it's run about $30 in fees on the US end (I have multiple banks, and it was the same at all of them), plus about ten days for funds to transfer. PayPal is probably easier and cheaper.

Soon as we get paid, I'm in for--some amount, anyhow, a month. I <3 MF.
posted by MeghanC at 12:10 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


That with the commitment of recurrent donations, perhaps the question of how many layoffs could be revisited.

The trend on the adsense revenue is really worrying. It's not just down to less than 20% of what it was at its peak, it looks like it's still falling sharply. Completely changing the business model of the site will take time, and it's better to cut back now sharply and keep it that way to give the site time to find a sustainable solution. (I'm assuming the 300 or so donations listed on the funding page are at best 10% of the way toward making that happen?)
posted by jjwiseman at 12:10 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


FWIW, I don't think the 501(c)3 restrictions on political speech would apply to the kind of conversation that happens on Metafilter. As I understand it, those restrictions are about forbidding the organization itself from direct lobbying / campaigning activity, not just talkin' about stuff. Like, it would forbid Matt taking all the money from the current fundraising and contributing it to a political campaign, but it wouldn't forbid the membership from talking about the political campaign. (Here is what the IRS has to say on the subject). NPR is a 501(c)3, and that doesn't stop them from running explicit political coverage, etc.

I do think that it would be worth Matt's time to talk to a lawyer who knows about nonprofits about whether that model could make sense for Metafilter. There is a lot of misinformation about what being an nonprofit means, and I think it would be a mistake for the MeFi management to dismiss the idea without looking at it carefully.
posted by bubukaba at 12:11 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


I totally want naming rights, and I call dibs on Metatalk. Arbitrary and Capricious Metatalk has a certain ring to it, don't you think?

I've got to say that of all the things I worry about in life, the idea that Matt would spend my hard-earned money on fancy shoes rates pretty low. I understand the principle of the thing, but I have a fair amount of faith that this is a labor of love and that any money I donate to it is going to be spent wisely. If someone wants to put in the work to set up the Friends of Metafilter foundation, then I'm happy to donate to that, but I'm ok with trusting the people in charge here.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:12 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


>I wish people would stop with terms like "elite" and announcing exactly how much they are giving. Everyone appreciates what folks are doing to help keep Metafilter going, but is it really necessary to go into the details?

While I agree on the "elite", I actually think it's a good idea for people to be marked as subscribers, and I announced that I gave and how much I gave, in order to swell the ranks of the givers and set an example.
posted by Dragonness at 12:13 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


This is super awesome and super encouraging.

If at all possible, I would like to suggest that we as a community have a narrative that doesn't shun or discourage the idea of displaying the funding star on individual profile pages (which I could see happening, out of a sense of humility or not want to brag or wear our donations on our sleeves). Not because we want people using it as a bragging or a metafilter-class issue, but because it could be really helpful for the health of the site for people to know that this kind of thing is possible, to be occasionally reminded of it in non-intrusive ways, and to affirm that people are actually doing it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:13 PM on May 21 [10 favorites]


I'm wearing my gold star... on my forehead.

(People are looking at me funny.)
posted by mudpuppie at 12:15 PM on May 21


I'm assuming the 300 or so donations listed on the funding page are at best 10% of the way toward making that happen?

Yeah, if I was going to make a giant thermometer, it'd probably be % of ad revenue replacement. Right now it is at: 7.1%. That means if Google goes down by another 10% next month, we'd be ok. We saw a 20% reduction in April, which is what caused this whole thing to happen -- we were at break-even for about a year, but then it tanked and there was nothing left to cut to make it up.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:16 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


I really don't understand why people think Metafilter should become a 501-c3. Nothing else I subscribe to is a 501-c3. RCN isn't a non-profit. The New York Times isn't. MLB.com isn't. Netflix isn't. Why does Metafilter need to be a 501-c3? Is it because we're using the word "recurring donation" rather than "sliding scale subscription"?

Maybe it's because Metafilter is a community, and they want their contributions to be part of a gift economy? But hey, gift economies don't require non-profit status. Think local.
posted by alms at 12:16 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


I will only truly be happy if the money I donate goes to buying each past and present mod a giant donut.
posted by knapah at 12:17 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


i honestly don't know why, but even after you guys screwed up my kaycee nicole scam, blew up my plan to acquire two russian sex slaves and outted me as duclod man i'm now a monthly supporter.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:18 PM on May 21 [42 favorites]


And yes, people going on about 501c3 bullshit are being totally ridiculous,

Because Metafilter should be a Church.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:18 PM on May 21 [16 favorites]


I left my comment out on the counter all night. Should I take, eat it, this is my body text?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:20 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


i honestly don't know why, but even after you guys screwed up my kaycee nicole scam, blew up my plan to acquire two russian sex slaves and outted me as duclod man i'm now a monthly supporter.

That's a step in the right direction.

Double your contribution and I'll quash those warrants...
posted by Pudhoho at 12:20 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I will only truly be happy if the money I donate goes to buying each past and present mod a giant donut.

I am totally willing to make it an additional duty of my moderation to ambassador all visiting members of the mod family to Voodoo Doughnuts for a Tex-Ass at their request. Limit one per day; I won't have a manslaughter charge on my hands.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 PM on May 21 [15 favorites]


Done! Thanks y'all.
posted by pipoquinha at 12:21 PM on May 21


Hey Cortex, don't let Matt welsh on that case of beer!
posted by Pudhoho at 12:23 PM on May 21


Because Metafilter should be a Church.

Yeah, and blackmail sell indulgences! "Look, we know you're a skeezebag spammer. For a thousand bucks, Matt will forgive you."
posted by backseatpilot at 12:23 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


i will nail my 90something theses to the server by god
posted by elizardbits at 12:26 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


Yeah, if I was going to make a giant thermometer, it'd probably be % of ad revenue replacement.

I WAS KIDDING! HAMBURGER, HAMBURGER!

Mmmmm... hamburger.
posted by bondcliff at 12:28 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious: "I've got to say that of all the things I worry about in life, the idea that Matt would spend my hard-earned money on fancy shoes rates pretty low."

No kidding, it would be some kind of fancy bicycle.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:30 PM on May 21 [10 favorites]


Just a small thing, but could we have a running tally of the number of people who make one-time contributions, as well?

I think having some sort of a publically accessible and increasing number like this across the board can be really important for people wanting to be a participate. It would meet a couple of psychological needs: 1) people can see that others are actively participating, versus it being perceived too soon as a dead project; and 2) if this stalls in the future, it can be a point of community observation and correction, if desired
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:31 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


That article made me even more angry at Google. Stop it, Google. Stop it. You're not just hurting us, you're hurting yourself. It's so crazy. It's automated processes being stupid, and no human in place to tell the programming to cut it out.

Sure, Google shouldn't design their business around one simple site... But Metafilter is such a good test for them. If Metafilter is coming up as spam, there is something wrong with what they're doing.
posted by meese at 12:32 PM on May 21 [19 favorites]


The last time I was this pissed off at Google, they'd just decide to sunset Google Reader

I'm still pissed about the time they put Jessamyn's town in the lake!
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:35 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


the Nighthawks picture at the start of the Medium article :)
posted by Wordshore


Man, I just saw the original at the Amon Carter in Ft. Worth last month. As many times as you see it reproduced... wow. It's actually huge. It overwhelmed a room full of Warhols & Diebenkorns. Amazing piece of work.

/art nerd derail
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:46 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I really don't understand why people think Metafilter should become a 501-c3. Nothing else I subscribe to is a 501-c3.

That may make you fairly unusual. I subscribe to First Things, Poetry, The New Criterion, various academic journals, etc. all of which are published by 501(c)(3)'s.

I don't currently have an internet only 501(c)(3) subscription, but I can certainly imagine such a thing.

Then there's Public Broadcasting, which operates on a "free to use," but also asking people to donate model.

This is not at ALL an endorsement of Metafilter moving to a non-profit.
posted by Jahaza at 12:47 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


cortex, you need to get them the giant vegan donut that looks like a penis. Because penis donut.

I'll go ahead and take care of this too: Metafilter: Because Penis Donut.
posted by deezil at 12:47 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Matt, you mentioned the possibility of getting to the point where you could remove ads from Mefi. Maybe I'm saying this because I'm a member and I don't see the ads, but I'm not sure what the value of that would be. If they're bringing in income - even if it's less than it used to be - then great. And when you get to a comfortable financial situation, you can always use the ad money as a buffer (which it sounds like you've done in the past).

I'm not a huge fan of ads myself, so if you'd like to remove them for other reasons that makes sense. However, there are more tasteful or useful ways of putting up ads, e.g. site sponsorships and so on.
posted by adrianhon at 12:47 PM on May 21 [16 favorites]


As far as disclosure is concerned, I'm curious to know how much the Deck ads bring in, how much of it is from logged-in users who unblock them and how many users unblock them. (And no matter how small that amount is, IF YOU'RE BLOCKING THEM, DON'T DO THAT)
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:49 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


As someone who works for a (c)(6) NO DO NOT GO DOWN THIS ROAD. THERE BE DRAGONS.
posted by misskaz at 12:49 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


The other reason why it bothers me: I remember when Penny Arcade did their absolutely humongous Kickstarter campaign to get rid of ads; maybe even a quarter of a million dollars to get rid of a single ad. I don't know, I'd rather see that money to go some of our fine, fine mods.
posted by adrianhon at 12:50 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


MCMikeNamara: " If there isn't an automated solution for this (or until there is one), I will totally send a reminder to people in a year/6 months if they would like to send me a friendly reminder. "

Memo to Me is a free email reminder service.
posted by zarq at 12:52 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


count me among those who see no need for any perks or structural changes.

I'm happy I get a little star on my profile page, so there you go. Different strokes for different folks.
posted by leahwrenn at 12:55 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


313 (a prime number to boot!)!
posted by royals at 12:56 PM on May 21


I'm in! It's not much per month, but hopefully I'll be able to raise it someday. Thanks for all you do, Matt & mods!
posted by easily confused at 12:57 PM on May 21


I'm not sure what the value of that would be

Yeah, that's a good point. I guess part of it is still me wondering why we fell out of Google's good graces, and I suspect it was maybe having annoying ads on the pages is one aspect. A clean ad-free site would hopefully look better and attract more readers, members, and supporters, but that's not nearly as direct as member support and you're right, a few ads for logged out individuals could still continue to support everything.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:58 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Oh, better idea. Every comment on this site is essentially the "property" of Metafilter, but older comments are worth less now than when they were originally written (due to fewer eyeballs on older threads, bit rot, or the fact that if they were written today they would all be much wittier and more insightful because we've all aged and grown a bit since that comment was originally written). So, every comment on this site can be written off as a depreciating asset. Some back of the napkin calculations show that the government owes Metafilter... roughly $150 million, give or take.

Alternatively, maybe you can list all of us as dependents.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:59 PM on May 21 [11 favorites]


Remember when you get a gold star you are invincible for the next 30 seconds.
posted by The Whelk at 1:01 PM on May 21 [15 favorites]


Or a staff with three area spells.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:03 PM on May 21


zarq: "MCMikeNamara: " If there isn't an automated solution for this (or until there is one), I will totally send a reminder to people in a year/6 months if they would like to send me a friendly reminder. "

Memo to Me is a free email reminder service.
posted by zarq at 2:52 PM on May 21 [+] [!] [quote]
"

Truth me told, I probably would have ended up using something like that. :) And still will if that makes it easier for anybody or they want the personal touch.

Speaking of my great technical proficiency, it seems that I set up my Paypal recurring membership with another account or something as I got the emails and my card has been charged but when I login now, it doesn't appear. So I may end up being on list twice as I wanted to up my donation. (I will not require 2 stars.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:05 PM on May 21


Excellent! Thanks for making this support option obvious. Signed on and ready to support, suh!
posted by Kerasia at 1:06 PM on May 21


If Metafilter becomes a church we will need our own Lord's Mod's Prayer
Our mathowie in Oregon,
hallowed be your username.
Your website be deployed by pb,
your will be done by cortex,
on MeFi, as it is on MeTa.
Give us this day our weekly AskMe question,
and forgive us our snarks,
as we also have flagged and moved on.
And lead us not into having comments deleted,
but deliver us from spammers.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 1:06 PM on May 21 [46 favorites]


333!
posted by jasper411 at 1:07 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


27
posted by Pudhoho at 1:12 PM on May 21


Metafilter: The PBS it's ok to like.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:13 PM on May 21 [10 favorites]


I have got so much out of Metafilter for at least 6 years, (I was a lurker before I joined). I have been informed, intellectually stimulated, entertained and damned irritated with the trolls since I found the site. Metafilter opened my eyes to what is on the net. I'd say I got a lotta bang for 5 bucks!! I am sorry to see Mods laid off as their candor and wise comments are what keeps this unruly bunch from falling into the abyss. The mods are like trapeze artists. Its a fine line to trod, as prodding people to be too civilized would result in blandtown and no creativity: yet too much chaos can be distracting and offputting. So thanks to Jessamyn, LobsterMitten and goodnewsfortheinsane and especially to Mathowie for their dedication. I can only make a one time donation but happy to do so.
posted by smudgedlens at 1:19 PM on May 21


341
posted by beagle at 1:20 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


If Metafilter becomes a church we will need our own Lord's Mod's Prayer

Thy mod and staff, they comfort me.
posted by Melismata at 1:21 PM on May 21 [40 favorites]


I guess part of it is still me wondering why we fell out of Google's good graces, and I suspect it was maybe having annoying ads on the pages is one aspect.

Surely there's someone at Google who can help you out? Mefi is big enough to get special attention from Google...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:22 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


It's so exciting seeing the counter of subscribers climb gently but incessantly.
Go MeFites!!
posted by bigendian at 1:23 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


The new donation page made it very easy to set up a recurring payment from Canada. Done and done.

I would actually like a star on my page pls 'cause I'm a sucker for stars
posted by jokeefe at 1:26 PM on May 21


My Mod, it's full of stars!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:28 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Alternatively, maybe you can list all of us as dependents.

I'm certainly dependent, or at least that what my girlfriend tells me when I'm staring at my phone and my face is lit up blue.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:29 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


All in.
"My friends never die."
posted by artof.mulata at 1:30 PM on May 21


The star is nice but I much prefer flaming_torches.gif or sirens.gif.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:32 PM on May 21


Thanks for writing the Medium essay, mathowie. I found all the small, weird reasons Google has for organizing its ranking almost baffling.

Late last year, I was told that despite the past decade of Google’s Adsense pages suggesting ads should match your site, different background colors were now required to better discern ads from content, resulting in another large decrease.

So, now the color of the pages matters to Google. Does that mean a more muted color scheme would push Metafilter higher in the rankings? I'm sure you've done all all the brainstorming behind the scenes, but I bet if there was ever a time to try to push a redesign through without everyone gnashing their teeth at it, you've got it.

Also, I'm bummed that Google is sending out emails warning other companies to remove their links from Metafilter, as if we were on the equivalent of some kind of sex offender registry or something. It seems like proof that there are no humans working at Google.
posted by bluefly at 1:34 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Join 45 others with a one-time contribution to MetaFilter

Hooray! Thanks for the tally on this one, too.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:37 PM on May 21


ok

ok

ok

Ready?


MePAC!

unlimited money baby.
posted by edgeways at 1:39 PM on May 21 [10 favorites]


Hooray! Thanks for the tally on this one, too.

Sure. That's the tally of people who have contributed from the Funding page. I'm working on importing contributions from the other random PayPal links people have used. So that number is a bit higher in reality.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:41 PM on May 21


pb, if we donated yesterday from a random paypal link, is there any info we should be sending to help you sort it out?
posted by heyforfour at 1:43 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


OK, I'm behind the times with popular culture and all, but with people calling out the numbers of donors, it made me think of Breaking Bad.

Matt, are you taking up a new hobby? Is there something you want to tell us?
posted by filthy light thief at 1:44 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


So, now the color of the pages matters to Google.

Well, it doesn't matter what you pick but ads have to be different colors. So white pages, gray ads, black pages, blue ads? Stuff like that, doesn't really matter what color our site is.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:45 PM on May 21


...I was told that despite the past decade of Google’s Adsense pages suggesting ads should match your site, different background colors were now required to better discern ads from content...

I was really surprised when I saw this in the Medium article. And felt embarrassed that I'd ever felt like clinging to the traditional MeFi, AskMe and MeTa default background colors was really important to me. Truly anything to help Matt and the site stay afloat. Even accepting "professional white" backgrounds for any and all pages.
posted by marsha56 at 1:45 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


pb, if we donated yesterday from a random paypal link, is there any info we should be sending to help you sort it out?

Nope, thanks though. We should find a more accurate count in the PayPal bit mine.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:51 PM on May 21


I'm guessing you've already thought about this, but how about putting the donate link up top? i.e. "An important message about MetaFilter. - Help fund MetaFilter." To draw attention to the situation (the nature of the "important message") and the donation option for folks who don't read MetaTalk quite as religiously as others, and since it's a temporary header you can throw it up while you're still weighing what's the best way to more permanently make the donation option more prominent.

(Or maybe your stats are telling you that we're all reading MetaTalk religiously the last couple days and there's no need to worry about willing donors missing the link...)
posted by EmilyClimbs at 1:55 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


Just a bit of feedback on the profile badge text: while it is technically true that as a contributor of money, "I fund MetaFilter," I prefer to think of it more as, "I help fund MetaFilter." I think that one additional word, "help" conveys a greater sense of community and less of a sense of elitism. The word "help" could even be a link to the funding page IMO.
posted by tempestuoso at 1:56 PM on May 21 [15 favorites]


I've set up a recurring as well, it looks like it hit my Paypal just fine.
posted by pjern at 1:56 PM on May 21


The word "help" could even be a link to the funding page IMO.

I misread that as 'fucking page' and was like :0
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:00 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Google is sending out emails warning other companies to remove their links from Metafilter

I was perplexed by a similar request from a random resort to remove a link to them from one of my blog posts (blogger hosted, btw) that was at least 3 years old. Why in the world would Google care about that link? They didn't even have the correct address of the post.
posted by soelo at 2:02 PM on May 21


I admit I am shallow, but I crave my star.

Somehow the way I set up my recurring donation didn't link my donation to my account? Should I stop the existing recurring donation and set up a new one somehow connected to my metafilter account?

Or it might be that the star is there on my profile and I am just not knowing where to look?
posted by winna at 2:03 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I misread that as 'fucking page' and was like :0

Now you're thinking like Google... :-)
posted by tempestuoso at 2:03 PM on May 21


MisantropicPainforest: "I misread that as 'fucking page' and was like :0"

Wrong MeTa thread.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:04 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Anyone that wants the star on their page that hasn't gotten it yet, send me a mefi mail and I'll send you the secret link we'll be emailing out later on check this comment below.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:04 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I never thought Metafilter would be run by a bunch of Fundies!
posted by The Deej at 2:04 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


I've been checking MeFi for nearly 13 years. I very rarely comment, but it's one of the few sites I come to nearly every day.

Just made a recurring donation to support the thoughtful, well-moderated, and safe and tolerant space that we have all created together.

I hope many others do the same as and if you are able.

Thanks to Matt and all the mods for the work you do.
posted by rbellon at 2:08 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


"help" conveys a greater sense of community and less of a sense of elitism.

Good call, pb just updated it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:09 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Also, from the Medium article, the "inorganic links" thing is outrageous. Some aspects of the revenue drop could be attributed to arguably defensible judgment calls on Google's part... but the "inorganic links" issue seems to clearly point to Google being completely and ridiculously wrong and incompetent in their treatment of MeFi and their (in)ability to identify comment spam, and I think we should all be spreading this part of the story far and wide. Google ought to be ashamed and embarrassed about how wrong they're getting this, and find themselves motivated to fix it pronto to avoid the black eye they deserve and should get on this.
MetaFilter as SEO spamfarm? Huh?
Most recently, we’ve been getting several emails every morning asking us to remove links to sites that were mentioned on MetaFilter, every big web publisher gets them now. The text of these emails is slightly distressing, but here’s an actual message Google sent to someone, who in turn contacted us pleading for removal:

We’ve reviewed the links to your site and we still believe that some of them are outside our quality guidelines.

Sample URLs:
http://ask.metafilter.com/194610/get-me-and-my-stuff-from-point-a-to-point-b-possibly-via-point-c

Please correct or remove all inorganic links, not limited to the samples provided above. This may involve contacting webmasters of the sites with the inorganic links on them.


... We have a total of over ten million comments across on all our sites combined and we spend so much time and energy tracking the few problem comments down that I would be hard-pressed to find even a single public comment that could be considered comment spam.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 2:18 PM on May 21 [19 favorites]


This should be on the sidebar and on the Best Of blog.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:18 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Well done on the bragging button on the profile, I mean that non-sarcastically. Because I am proud to brag about my lowly support.
posted by angrycat at 2:24 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


I'm keeping the Help Fund Metafilter link open in a tab and I refresh it every now and then. Nice to see the total going up!
posted by apartment dweller at 2:28 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the Medium article, mathowie. Very interesting.

I originally discovered MeFi via a link to AskMe in a Google search result. And I hadn't thought about it until it came up this week, but yeah, it's been a while now since I've seen AskMe results in Google searches. WTF Google?

But it still baffles me that ads generate so much revenue. I've never deliberately clicked on an ad anywhere on the Web.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 2:34 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


ohh i'm totally doing keeping a tab open too. it'll be the funnest cheering-on thing i've done since obama's last election
posted by angrycat at 2:34 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I'm keeping the Help Fund Metafilter link open in a tab and I refresh it every now and then. Nice to see the total going up!

I didn't notice that before. That is so awesome !!

Currently 426 members are helping MetaFilter.

Yaayyy !! Thanks apartment dweller for pointing that out.
posted by marsha56 at 2:37 PM on May 21


Actually, whoa I am fielding tons of requests for the star link.

Here's the URL to get the star on your profile:
http://www.metafilter.com/contribute/ifunded.mefi

I'll post it unlinked purposely since it doesn't prompt you, but marks you instantly as a supporter the moment it is loaded. So if you gave money earlier and wanted it on your profile, copy/paste it in a browser and you'll get it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:37 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Lurkers are also members!

Also, is there any way to check if my attempt to subscribe via Paypal yesterday was successful? I have a feeling it wasn't.
posted by mahershalal at 2:41 PM on May 21


Unsolicited amateur hour design suggestion: maybe move the contribution message to the leftmost column of the profile? The middle column is the longest of the three already, I think it will look nicer.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:42 PM on May 21


You can go to your Paypal account and check; I verified mine that way.
posted by apartment dweller at 2:43 PM on May 21


Dr Dracator, it's not always the longest of the three. It depends on what you have in your profile. The Contributions section seemed like a good fit.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:45 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I actually was just "bragging" to a startuppy friend of mine about how much google loves Ask MetaFilter (which I remembered from back when that was true). I had a tough time proving it with some test searches...makes sense now :(
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 2:45 PM on May 21


Can I piggyback off of oneswellfoop's comment and ask a question about The Deck ads and how they work?

I edited my hosts file and unblocked *.deck-whatever.com in AdBlock Plus. So...being a web-monetizing-ignoramus who has long been out of the techie trenches: is that all I need to do to support site ads? Does the revenue come from pageloads on the MeFi side, or does the revenue come from clickthroughs? Sorry if this is a dumb question; I've always wondered how that works!
posted by cardinality at 2:47 PM on May 21


The Deck ads are super old school. They just pay me a flat rate for them. You can hide them with a click if you want, but single users seeing them or not doesn't have a ton of impact on it.

We may start moving to using them on more parts of the site where they could do better than Google ads, it's something I'm considering right now.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:49 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Thanks, second try worked.
posted by mahershalal at 2:51 PM on May 21


I misread this as, "Help BLUND Metafilter!" Can you guys believe that?? Ha ha ha! "Blund" isn't even a word!

Seriously though, happy to be able to help a little bit.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:51 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


I think the peeps who donated yesterday just got added. We have over 700 supporters now! And counting!
posted by travelwithcats at 2:54 PM on May 21


Actually, 627. So maybe they got added in two parts?
posted by Michele in California at 2:55 PM on May 21


Someday you will be able to say that you have a three-digit "I helped fund metafilter" number.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:56 PM on May 21


Yeah, I'm working on importing PayPal data. It'll be in flux for a bit.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:56 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Yes, something is definitely not okay with using Google to return hits on AskMe. There were some searches I have done in the past that formerly returned hits, that are no longer doing so. (I don't know how long ago I did those searches--easily a year ago at least.) I'm using search terms that are quite specific, based on terms used in my posts in those threads, and I'm not getting returns now.
posted by apartment dweller at 2:57 PM on May 21


★ I help fondue MeltaFritter!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:03 PM on May 21 [18 favorites]


Do you ...fondue?
posted by The Whelk at 3:07 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


dorito fondue
posted by elizardbits at 3:11 PM on May 21


You help fondle MeatCritter?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:14 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Ooh, almost at 1000.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:17 PM on May 21


Matt, however it is that this turns out, I really hope that this will be a fond memory for you of how much people love the site that you started from scratch and helped (with the contributions of others on the team) build into one of the best places on the internet. You mentioned how hard it was to make some of the difficult decisions, but hopefully the outpouring of support doesn't only send money your way, but good vibes regarding how much people here really care about you and the site and the rest of the team. There's been a lot said in print over the last couple of days, but this is something pretty tangible.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:17 PM on May 21 [46 favorites]


Taco Bell Pulled MeatCritter Doritos® Smoked Fondue Locos Taco Supreme
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:17 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Here's a dumb idea that hurts nobody: let people choose an html entity on their support message:

☯ I help fund MetaFilter!

ᑜ I help fund MetaFilter

etc, etc
posted by boo_radley at 3:18 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Pear pimples for hairy fishnuts?
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:19 PM on May 21 [13 favorites]


Would anyone here be interested in running a one-off epic fundraiser? With perks and community promo and all that? All the Mefi Mods would have to do is accept the money.

I saw some ideas on this thread and the other one and I think it would be a great opportunity to promote Mefi to people we know, and put some of those ideas (like Mefi Music compilations or tshirts) in place without adding to the mods' workload.

I contacted the mods about making a MeTa thread for it and they asked me to wait till this thread went up, so if there's some interest I or someone else can make the thread to hash out ideas.
posted by divabat at 3:21 PM on May 21


If that 1012 is accurate (and nobody has just clicked the link) then it is so cool that we got to 1000 in a few hours of this going up.
posted by ElliotH at 3:25 PM on May 21


ElliotH, that number now includes contributions from yesterday too. But I completely agree: wow.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:27 PM on May 21


I contacted the mods about making a MeTa thread for it and they asked me to wait till this thread went up, so if there's some interest I or someone else can make the thread to hash out ideas.

A fundraiser is a nice idea but we'd really really like some time to process all the other stuff going on and it would be a kindness if there wasn't another really busy MeTa thread in the next few weeks while we let the dust settle from this. So if there's interest, that's AOK but speaking at least for myself if not the other folks, a fundraiser will be just as useful a month from now as it is now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:29 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Getting Google to actually respond to this would be better
posted by The Whelk at 3:31 PM on May 21 [14 favorites]


Just kicked in $5, glad to see the outpouring of support! My finances are tight right now, but it's the least I can do for a site that's helped me so much over the years. Thank you all collectively, mods!
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:32 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Also, a one-off fundraiser seems like it's not going to do much for the long-term viability of Metafilter, though. If there was a barn to raise — new hardware, some one-off tax Matt had to pay — I can see that being useful, but otherwise I'm not so sure.

I'm def ready to pony up for a Big Reason, but having just pledged a monthly donation I don't think I'd be up for throwing down more cash without Big Reason.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:33 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


So if there's interest, that's AOK but speaking at least for myself if not the other folks, a fundraiser will be just as useful a month from now as it is now.

I'm gonna take every chance I have left to say "what my co-worker said". The idea seems thoughtful and worth chewing on down the line but for right now probably better to just wait and let things settle out a bit.

Just kicked in $5

Man, it doesn't even really make sense but so did I. Feels right even if it means I'm paying myself some transaction fee fraction of five bucks less this month by doing so.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:40 PM on May 21 [45 favorites]


Huh, weirdly while I do have the checkbox in my 'edit profile' page to show/hide the funding message, the message itself doesn't show up on the profile itself. Related to Paypal-in-flux issues?
posted by adrianhon at 3:46 PM on May 21


adrianhon, we're going to send out an email tomorrow that will explain how to get the star on your page if you donated via the About page or directly in PayPal. Or you can check Matt's comment if you don't want to wait for the email.

If you want to verify whether or not your PayPal transaction went through, the best thing to do is to check your recent transactions directly at PayPal.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:49 PM on May 21


oh, and everyone has the show/hide funding message. It's not related to whether or not you've contributed.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:50 PM on May 21


Decrease the saturation of the background page color, then increase it commensurate with the financial solvency of the site or the attainment of enough money to achieve a goal (like paying for a part time mod or a new server or whatever). "Keep Mefi Blue!"
posted by Mizu at 3:52 PM on May 21 [11 favorites]


As a thought experiment, what would it take for Metafilter to go ad-free?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:52 PM on May 21


Lawyers, guns, and money.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:54 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Ahh, OK - that makes sense. Well, sort of - I mean maybe it might be better to hide the funding message unless you've contributed? (I know it went through, I just reset my Paypal password and saw in the balance).

I should stop bothering you guys about this, sorry! (makes another one-time contribution)
posted by adrianhon at 3:54 PM on May 21


As a thought experiment, what would it take for Metafilter to go ad-free?

Back-to-back pledge drives running Are You Being Served? marathons 24/7.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:55 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Just out of curiosity, why are people focused on making MeFi ad-free? I mean, it's already ad-free if you've paid the $5 to join, I think it makes sense to keep the ad revenue for non-members. Especially if keeping ads (and adding donation support) is going to help staffing issues down the line.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:56 PM on May 21 [13 favorites]


I mean maybe it might be better to hide the funding message unless you've contributed?

Yeah, potentially. But this way you can uncheck way before you contribute. There won't even be a slight chance that the message would ever appear on your profile.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:56 PM on May 21


chickens... lots and lots of chickens
posted by edgeways at 3:56 PM on May 21


The immediate and strong response of the community is warming the cockles of my heart.
posted by janey47 at 4:00 PM on May 21


☯ I help fund MetaFilter!

ᑜ I help fund MetaFilter


✈❚❚ I help fund Metafilter!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:00 PM on May 21 [12 favorites]


That's why that's probably not a good idea.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:01 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


hey guys we should totally make this place a nonprofit and then secretly funnel all the money into my Cayman islands shoeshine hut where i'll make sure it's kept nice and safe.
posted by item at 4:02 PM on May 21


I know this would not have a huge impact on the bottom line, but I would totally buy an overpriced MeFi logo mug (in addition to donating!) to go with my CGP Grey and Scishow ones. (They should be a little nice though. Not just plain white. imo.)
posted by Glinn at 4:03 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


I tweeted @mattcutts of Google earlier because he comments on Hacker News about this sort of stuff on occasion. Got this reply, so fingers crossed for useful resolution. (I just liked to see that Google wasn't totally ignoring this)
posted by ElliotH at 4:03 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


What does Matt cut? Bet he's never heard that one before.
posted by item at 4:05 PM on May 21


Another random thought -- are hosting costs a meaningful part of the budget still? Cloud hosting seems like the kind of thing that Rackspace or Microsoft Azure or whoever might be willing to donate in exchange for a "thanks" message in the sidebar or something -- we're a lot of nerdy eyeballs for not much bandwidth. To me, at least, that kind of message doesn't really count as ad space, and it's a steady source of support that isn't Google.
posted by jhc at 4:06 PM on May 21


Oh right since he's from Google, Matt cuts money from coming into Metafilter.
posted by item at 4:08 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


are hosting costs a meaningful part of the budget still?

Not as much as they once were. We recently moved to AWS which cut our monthly hosting bills a bit.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:09 PM on May 21


pb: Are you doing that in a cloud-style automatic deploys way or using it in a more traditional way? (If it's the first, I get the idea Metafilter's backend is kind of old, how well does it adapt to that way of doing things?)
posted by ElliotH at 4:12 PM on May 21


No automatic deploys. No clusters. We have a pretty traditional setup, yeah.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:13 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I tweeted Matt Cutts as well and he ignored me. Damn google!
posted by cjorgensen at 4:16 PM on May 21


Ah, man, I tweeted @mattcuts. No wonder I didn't get a reply.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:18 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I have an extremely tenuous connection to Matt Cutts. I took a college class in FORTRAN programming that his father, David Cutts, taught. This was at a small school in Eastern Kentucky.

I remember Matt as a slightly annoying junior high schooler (but aren't they all, really?) who hung out in the computer lab.

Little Matt has come a long way.
posted by JeffL at 4:26 PM on May 21


I have never managed to be at the beginning of anything cool, but I totally became a monthly supporter before a lot of other people here and I feel really great about it!

Yes, this is about me! ME! MEEEE!

(So glad people are lining up to help out the site, Matt. We all love this place to death.)
posted by xingcat at 4:26 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


a famous TV quote just came to mind:
There's Always Money In The Banana Stand
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:27 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Sadly, I don't have any more family mysteries to boost AskMe traffic right now (that site traffic graph in the Medium article is crazy!). So, I figured I'd throw in a monthly donation to make up for it. Thanks mods for all your great work, and thanks Metafilter for solving all of my mysteries, big and small!
posted by JannaK at 4:31 PM on May 21 [18 favorites]


This is great, Matt. Thanks.
posted by dmh at 4:32 PM on May 21


I agree which the idea that the site doesn't need to become ad-free. I think those are an incentive to sign up. I would gladly pay the subscription for online newspapers if the ads went away, but a lot of them are wanting my money and to give me ads. This is why I dropped Hulu, but still have Prime and Netflix.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:40 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


From Slate: Deranked: Why Has Google Forsaken MetaFilter?
posted by Going To Maine at 4:40 PM on May 21 [35 favorites]


Gawker: Do You Ever Miss the Old Internet?
posted by triggerfinger at 4:43 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I just set up a monthly for $16.95. I chose this number after scanning through my recent CC transactions to realize I was still paying $16.95 per month to eFax for a FAX number I got for a single project far too long ago.

Many people have posted in this and in the original Meta thread that they've given up entertainment subscriptions like NetFlix or Pandora - also check for vampiric services!

Metafilter is so much more valuable to me than many of the things I pay for monthly, so I'm extremely happy to have found a seamless source to pay for this monthly contribution.
posted by tomierna at 4:43 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


For example, if you search “maybe there is a god,” Bing returns, in the No. 2 spot, a MetaFilter page with agnostic book recommendations, titled “Books about ‘maybe there is a God’ for an agnostic with some doubts.” Fair enough. On Google, though, the MetaFilter page doesn’t show up until the sixth page as the 60th result. (Search engines make tiny algorithmic alterations all the time, so placement may be approximate.)

Whoa. Goodbye google, hello bing (shudders).
posted by Big_B at 4:46 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


really interesting slate piece there
posted by angrycat at 4:46 PM on May 21


mathowie, you can use my donation towards the cost of pricey shoes as long as you buy them for all the staff, too. I don't want us to be the laughing stock of the web for our mods all traipsing around in down-at-the-heels footwear like Dickensian waifs.

Actually, one reason I am proud of mefi is that we have paid mods who get benefits, who like each other and who like what they do. To the extent I am able, I try to avoid supporting bad employers.

mathowie, I for one totally trust your judgement about incoming monies. You have always been generous, fair, modest and humble. What is happening now is hopefully just a long delayed case of "what goes around comes around."

I hug everyone who has donated - I never felt better about this place than at this moment, and the only sad thing is that it is at the expense of some dearly valued mods.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:52 PM on May 21 [14 favorites]


That Gawker article is kind of weird.

[MetaFilter] just isn't as sanitized, and is consequently not as condescending, as a lot of the internet feels to me these days.

It seems like the central thrust of most discussion on here is how MetaFilter actually benefits from having quite rigorous standards for sanitization that aren't present on the rest of the internet. It is -also oddly- those standards for a sanitized discourse that allow for general discussions that contain sensitive subject matter without driving folks away.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:52 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


The thing about an official profile banner saying who contributes makes me slightly uncomfortable. If I imagine myself as a mod, and I am considering deleting a comment, or time-out-ing, or even banning a user, and I notice that they are a $10/mo contributor, it might influence my decision a little. Not on a conscious, rational level, but those sorts of things have a way of working their way into one's psychology.

I mean, I want the mods to feel comfortable ban-hammering me when I start trolling the heck out of everybody, even if I do contribute at the platinum-elite-angel-sugardaddy-investor-manna-from-heaven level. Just a thought.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:56 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


But other than that, I'm glad y'all are making it simpler for users to support this place!
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:57 PM on May 21


If I imagine myself as a mod, and I am considering deleting a comment, or time-out-ing, or even banning a user, and I notice that they are a $10/mo contributor, it might influence my decision a little.

If it is any comfort, I will have no such compunctions. I'll mod what needs modding; folks can manage their financial stuff as they see fit; if the two overlap somehow in cause or correlation, so be it but it won't inform policy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:01 PM on May 21 [24 favorites]


Not on a conscious, rational level, but those sorts of things have a way of working their way into one's psychology.

I think agreeing to be a mod here is like agreeing to be an impartial juror. Besides, whenever a mod's motives have been called into question in the past, the community has not been shy about calling for a retrial in MeTa. I have no doubt this will continue.

if you're looking for a perk to offer contributors

I wouldn't mind a star for every obnoxious friend I've kept away from MetaFilter. Like an anti-referral program.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:10 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


I paid because of the modding.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:10 PM on May 21 [25 favorites]


Google is Breaking the Internet - Not specifically about mefi, but explains how stupid this whole Google thing is. I run 4 business blogs for companies I work with - they are topical niche "expert" blogs followed within their respective industries. There are no ads on any of these blogs but we've seen our search traffic drop and the overall blog landscape change. Other legitimate businesses and blogs are afraid to link to each other now for fear of the wrath of Google. And I get those stupid letters about removing links too. Sorry, I am not playing that game - every single link on our blogs were researched and put there for a reason and not one damn link was paid for.

Cripes, we even get the damn letters on blort and we are probably one of the sites Google warns you about. But come on, if you are around for any amount of time on the web -- 13 years -- links rot and break, not your fault, the nature of the web. It would be a full time job for a small orphanage to pull off any broken links from the more than 18,000 posts we've made.

I think Google has well and truly fucked up linking, the very backbone of the web. First, they incented all the spam links in the first place and now to kill the frankenstein they created, they are holding all the villagers hostage and shooting all the children. Bastids.

It's heartwarming that mefi is getting support and notice from many quarters all over the web. Totally heartwarming that we are all pulling together on this. But there are lots of nice little web properties that will suffer from this and won't trip the radar for most people. But it's still a crying shame.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:11 PM on May 21 [81 favorites]


now years later, the owners of sites that actively gamed Google to get that #1 spot at the time are trying to clean up their act – [from the medium link]
Ah! that would make sense.
posted by unliteral at 5:11 PM on May 21


So, having donated (and as a native Oregonian), I feel I have the right to say:
So Metafilter HQ is across the street from a strip mall in McMinnville? McMinnville, seriously, dudes? Do y'all go to Shari's for lunch?

In my mind, it was something more Batcave-y. Sigh.
posted by emilypdx at 5:22 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


That's just the COVER, like the dry cleaners on Archer.

The actual offices are under a half mile of steel and concrete.
posted by The Whelk at 5:25 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


McMinnville, seriously, dudes?

You know that's where Matt lives, right? I mean, not in the post office....
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:31 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


McMinnville is just where Matt lives. Wine country, plenty of good biking roads.

I live in North Portland where I can walk to a schoolbus and get them to pour beer out of the side of it into the jar I brought and give me fifty cents off.

In conclusion, Metafilter is a land of contrasts.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:32 PM on May 21 [55 favorites]


Serious question: What does the Slate article mean by "prestige properties" here?

As a site that tries to attract users with solid content rather than flashy headlines and Share This buttons, MetaFilter may simply be getting caught between social linkbait sites like Upworthy, prestige properties like Yahoo Answers, and ultra-SEO’d sites.

Does that just mean name recognition, or what?
posted by fussbudget at 5:34 PM on May 21


OK, McMinnville is a perfectly nice place, I know that. It was the strip-mall aspect that shocked me (as a urban-type person). And now I know that there is a tunnel directly from 1271 NE Hwy 99W #109 to Matt's basement laboratory/headquarters I feel much better.
posted by emilypdx at 5:41 PM on May 21


prestige properties like Yahoo Answers

Does that just mean name recognition, or what?

I think it's like the houses in detroit that you can buy for $100.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:43 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


From the Slate article:

Searching for “most amazing woman ever” on Bing will give you MetaFilter’s helpful “Who is the most amazing woman who ever lived” as the third result. (Answers, by the way, included British spy and French Resistance leader Nancy Wake, world’s first programmer Ada Lovelace, slave rescuer and activist Harriet Tubman, and Chinese pirate Ching Shih.) Google puts it at the bottom of the second page of results, in 19th place. Google’s top result? A list of “the 100 most beautiful women ever.”

FFS, Larry, Sergey and Eric; your shit is broken...
posted by Wordshore at 5:44 PM on May 21 [54 favorites]


[MetaFilter] just isn't as sanitized, and is consequently not as condescending, as a lot of the internet feels to me these days.

It seems like the central thrust of most discussion on here is how MetaFilter actually benefits from having quite rigorous standards for sanitization that aren't present on the rest of the internet. It is -also oddly- those standards for a sanitized discourse that allow for general discussions that contain sensitive subject matter without driving folks away.


i think that was a poor choice of words, what has happened across the web is not sanitation exactly, more like an imposed, lowest-common-denominator generalization, tuned to appeal to a short attention span and honed to produce maximum data harvesting. meanwhile-...SQUIRREL! CUTE SQUIRREL! THIS IS LITERALLY THE CUTEST SQUIRREL EVER AND YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT IT DOES NEXT!!!!!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:47 PM on May 21 [13 favorites]


I find it hard to understand why Google would be sending emails to anyone asking them to delete links. If they've (rightly or wrongly) identified a link as spammy, surely they could just choose to give it no weight as far as ranking the linked page goes.
posted by philipy at 5:54 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Google identifies crap links to web masters. I can then email the primary source and ask them to remove the inbound link.

The best part of this new policy is I get a lot less emails offering me money for an inbound text link.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:58 PM on May 21


philipy, I nominate you for CEO of Google, that makes so much sense!
posted by madamjujujive at 6:00 PM on May 21


Is the number on the Help Fund Metafilter page (currently 1,092 as I type) the number of monthly contributors or the number of monthly + one time contributors?

Just asking, 'cause that's a whole lot higher than the 340 or so it was just a few hours ago.
posted by alms at 6:08 PM on May 21


I totally understand why you'd move to AWS, but trusting the site to Amazon kinda makes me want to have a verified, print edition as a backup, just in case. I'm sure it's just my own personal trust issues with that company, but I'm also very pragmatic, so like I said, I get it. It's way better than layoffs.

Speaking of which, don't forget to bookmark this link to send a commission to MetaFilter with every Amazon purchase.

Also, Goddam you, Google! WTF? Didn't you used to value and rank quality, not just shit that makes people click more shit? This is worth a look. It's the experience of a European publisher and parts of it will sound rather familiar.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:09 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Is the number on the Help Fund Metafilter page (currently 1,092 as I type) the number of monthly contributors or the number of monthly + one time contributors?

Combined: the breakdown of monthly/one off is below. (685/414, total of 1099 atm)
posted by MoonOrb at 6:10 PM on May 21


Just coming out of my self-imposed Metafilter vacation-for-the-sake-of-efficiency to say thank you to Matt & Co.

Not just to thank you for creating and running the internet's best community, though of course I'm grateful for that. I want to thank you for giving us a chance to support Metafilter directly like this. I've paid more money to Netflix and Amazon Prime over the years than I've ever given to Metafilter, but if I had to go without either Netflix or Prime I'd do it without much of a second thought. But Metafilter, as others have said, is my online home. So many of my friends are from here, and so much information and knowledge and ideas and new books/movie/music/etc. I've picked up over the years can be sourced to the blue and green. The picture of my life without Metafilter would look very different, in ways I can't imagine.

So I'm very glad, and very grateful, that everyone who feels the same way can do something real to make sure our online home continues to thrive.
posted by scody at 6:10 PM on May 21 [27 favorites]


Serious question: What does the Slate article mean by "prestige properties" here?

As a site that tries to attract users with solid content rather than flashy headlines and Share This buttons, MetaFilter may simply be getting caught between social linkbait sites like Upworthy, prestige properties like Yahoo Answers, and ultra-SEO’d sites.

Does that just mean name recognition, or what?


Elsewhere in the article:
For reference, I compared the results against results from Bing (which also powers Yahoo and partly powers DuckDuckGo).

Maybe "prestige" just means Yahoo answers get some extra juice on Bing due to the relationship?
posted by juv3nal at 6:15 PM on May 21


Instead of a star I'd like a little heart.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:17 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Wow, that Slate article has me thinking some odd thoughts, but I can't decide whether I think they're worth sharing.

And even if they were, I'm not sure that would be wise.
posted by jamjam at 6:23 PM on May 21


Searching for “most amazing woman ever” on Bing will give you MetaFilter’s helpful “Who is the most amazing woman who ever lived” as the third result. (Answers, by the way, included British spy and French Resistance leader Nancy Wake, world’s first programmer Ada Lovelace, slave rescuer and activist Harriet Tubman, and Chinese pirate Ching Shih.) Google puts it at the bottom of the second page of results, in 19th place. Google’s top result? A list of “the 100 most beautiful women ever.”

This is anecdotal evidence for one of my most serious suspicions: that the "imposed, lowest-common-denominator generalization" is being at least partly driven BY Google. You won't find the BEST of the Web by Googling...
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:25 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


I want TAL or Linda Holmes to do a nice big write up of the whole thing.
posted by angrycat at 6:28 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


i mean sound up. or whatever.
posted by angrycat at 6:29 PM on May 21


Seems more On The Media's metier...I can almost already hear Bob Garfield's barely suppressed sarcastic rage in the voice-over.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:34 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


Is the number on the Help Fund Metafilter page...the number of monthly contributors or the number of monthly + one time contributors?

The number at the top of the page in the second paragraph is the number of subscribers and one-time contributors added together. The numbers that you see in the headlines below indicate the number of that type of contributor. So the first headline says, "Join x others by subscribing to MetaFilter". That's the number of subscribers. The other headline is the number of one-time contributors. If you add those two numbers up, you'll get the total at the top of the page.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:37 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Sure, Google shouldn't design their business around one simple site... But Metafilter is such a good test for them. If Metafilter is coming up as spam, there is something wrong with what they're doing.

Exactly this. A search engine that ranks Yahoo Answers above AskMe is a broken search engine. It's difficult to know how widely it's broken or why, but if it's happening here, it's happening elsewhere
posted by tyllwin at 6:37 PM on May 21 [33 favorites]


A search engine that ranks Yahoo Answers above AskMe is a broken search engine.

Reminds me of the search engines Google replaced. How ironic.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:39 PM on May 21 [15 favorites]


Matt, when some other site sends you a request to delete a link I made in one of my comments, you tell them to fuck off, right?
posted by ryanrs at 6:47 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Google identifies crap links to web masters. I can then email the primary source and ask them to remove the inbound link.

Wouldn't it save everyone work if they just ignored the links for ranking purposes instead?

It can only be a matter of time before someone figures out they can hold your rank hostage by posting spammy links. "For a small fee of $50 pm I won't post any more links to your site."

Or people just start doing down their rivals by posting bad links to them.
posted by philipy at 6:47 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Say you are "AAA Quality Trash Bins". A number of years ago you hired a black-hat SEO contractor to place spam links to your "AAA Quality Trash Bins" web site on many other websites, mostly as user comments, so that any Google search for "trash bins" would be more likely to feature your website at the top of the results, leading the searcher to your site where you'd sell them a trash bin.

This arguably worked out well for people who were searching for a place to buy trash bins, less so for people who were searching for information on trash bins for other reasons, and not so great for the web sites that had to deal with all the spam comments. Multiply this by a few hundred million, and you get a web filled with spam and Google search results for ordinary queries that are mostly useless and annoying companies that want to sell you something.

So Google adjusts their algorithm to try to identify those spam links and to the degree to which they're successful is the degree to which the sites which benefitted from those links will no longer benefit from them. Hooray!

But also now those sites which formerly benefitted from that high page-rank due to dubious SEO practices are, you know, upset because people can't find them in Google searches. You say, well, screw them. But what's interesting and dismaying is that a whole lot of otherwise respectable companies utilized black hat SEO services, one way or another. J. C. Penney is one example. There are a bunch of others.

Those spammy links are still out there and these companies don't have control over them, they're on other people's websites. But they're calling up Google complaining that they're a Fortune 500 company or something but they have unusually low ranked search results. And it's because of past spam comments that they're shocked, shocked somehow exist.

So Google is all like, hey, we'll take our algorithm's results and use those to identify what companies to send an email to telling them that, okay, if you want to improve your search ranking, you need to make these spam links go away. Since they're not on your site, what you should do is contact the webmaster at the site and ask them to remove spam comments that you shouldn't have had placed there in the first place. Well, okay, here's a helpful tool that you can use that will send off exactly such an email. You're welcome. (And now we don't have to listen to you complain about a problem that's your fault in the first place.)

It's not that Google couldn't just ignore those spam comments, they already are. It's partly that they also (I believe) are actually penalizing sites that would have benefitted from those links, above and beyond nullifying their benefit. Why? As a strong disincentive for further shenanigans, from those companies and the SEO community in general. So what's actually happening is that the originating company (who contracted to place those spammy SEO ads or did it themselves) correctly have a strong incentive to remove them and the rest of us do, too. I mean, they're spam in totally inappropriate contexts. By their nature, they break the web.

It's true that Google is in some sense in their fight against spammers and black hat SEO folk also breaking the web. But it's the bad actors who broke it in the first place.

"A search engine that ranks Yahoo Answers above AskMe is a broken search engine."

It's broken in that one particular case. It's working for the large number of others where for the same reasons a site that placed thousands of spam comment links are no longer showing up at the top of the results.

Google lives at a thousand mile high viewpoint on the web and for every MetaFilter that's been hurt by these changes in Google ranking algorithm there are a thousand questionable sites that have been squashed. In 2011 there was a period when Google searches for a wide variety of things were basically useless because you'd get all these results of sites that wanted to sell you something, like a trash bin, when really you wanted to learn who invented the big square trash receptacles that those trucks empty. MeFi has been hurt by something that we all have generally benefited from. MeFi is collateral damage, a false positive.

There's no question that Google should reduce false positives, but they have the whole web to worry about. As mentioned earlier, one of the things I suspect will happen about this is that it will receive some attention within Google simply because MetaFilter is so heavily plugged into the web and media community, in this context MetaFilter punches far above its weight, as measured by traffic. But the underlying problem (how to find stuff on the web, the arms race that began with Google's automated solution to that need, and great parts of the web taking collateral damage from this conflict) is a big problem that goes way beyond MetaFilter.

In my opinion, the lesson in this for MeFi is to not have almost all its revenue eggs in one basket. It was basically Google traffic to AskMe resulting in Google AdSense clicks. That's pretty fragile. And that's why a recurring contribution from a moderately large number of members could be quite important. That's only one other and a modest portion of revenues, but it's still pretty substantial. It's a good thing for people to do. I did, and I literally have an income below the poverty line. It was a small monthly contribution, but it will be ongoing. I've managed to pay Last.FM three dollars a month for six years or something, I won't have any problem doing the same with MeFi.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:50 PM on May 21 [35 favorites]


I've been feeling guilty for years for having gotten way more than $5 worth of enjoyment out of this place, so thanks for letting me finally assuage that. I've been 98-100% bedridden since the end of 2007, and when I've been able to be on the 'net, MeFi has allowed me to have intelligent human interaction in a way I can adapt to the cognitive dysfunction and extremely low energy that go along with my illness. It also makes everyone on facebook think I am awesome at finding neat internet stuff, and that's worth a little of my disability check*. So now you're getting government handouts, Matt. Hope you're proud of yourself.

*And money made by a philosophy professor, which we all know is right next to "disabled person" in actual real-world utility.
posted by jocelmeow at 6:50 PM on May 21 [23 favorites]


Whoa. Goodbye google, hello bing (shudders).

For what it's worth, this whole debacle was the final push I needed to switch my web search tool of choice to Duck Duck Go. I wish there was a reasonable alternative to GMail and YouTube, too.
posted by jess at 6:51 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


So subscribed. I look forward to the paperboy throwing a new laptop with a browser set to mefi through my window every morning.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:54 PM on May 21 [17 favorites]


Wow. I can't believe how emotional this topic has gotten me. Apologies for making this GYOFB-y, but I have a lot of feels about this.

I started crying about half-way through this thread (I had missed the May 19th thread). Metafilter has been a friend for a long time, I lurked for years before becoming a member; it is not an insignificant part of my life. But more than that, I had some health issues that left me home and isolated for the past few years, and Metafilter has been one of the things I read to stay sane, to feel connected.

And that's just one part. The other is that I've had these ideas floating around my head for the past couple years about how frustrating the direction of both the web and Google have become. The "Get Mine" forth internet rings true; it seems like overnight the internet went from a place where everyone was sharing and doing things for the benefit of doing it, to everything being monetized. I don't think it's good.

Or maybe it is, allowing people to make money on something the might not do otherwise. But it discourages people that do things just as labor of love. Only the rare sites show in Google search results that aren't some how gaming the system. Personal sites are dead. It's just weird how dramatically the landscape has changed in just a few short years. Now, don't get me wrong, Panda was a response to SEO gaming the system, but the system was gamed because Google imposed unnatural rules on everyone.

I run a site that is a labor of love and a crime of passion. I debate between monetizing it and not, and do take donations. I also debate how much I should pay attention to Google. Many people know my site through internet word of mouth though I don't rank very highly. Recently I started to host duplicate content intentionally, with permission, because it was things my readers were looking for and took the pressure off me to write something that existed elsewhere. I really debated about it, but ultimately decided Google can be damned. In one particular case, one writer asked me if I would copy his content, because he has Alzheimer's and isn't sure how long he will be able to keep updating his site. And yet Google made me think for a moment "Shit, is this really a good idea?"

I worked at a company that was torn apart by one false SEO move, and could never get back to where they were after fixing the problem. And they made some other mistakes, but most came from the drop in rankings. It was dramatic how quickly it went from being the industry leader, a position it had held for over a decade to dropping to a quarter of the staff and being put on the chopping block to be sold.

I know Metafilter isn't going away, but it's changing. In a way that is going to be different than it ever was before. Even if Google says "oops, our bad" and fixes everything tomorrow, the damage is done. There will always be the specter.

Google has done evil.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:06 PM on May 21 [20 favorites]


I am glad to subscribe. Considering all the things I have done over the years for virtual badges, this is one of the few that actually seems worthwhile : )
posted by milovoo at 7:12 PM on May 21


Someday you will be able to say that you have a three-digit "I helped fund metafilter" number.
Finally an opportunity to gripe about n00bs.

Thanks for setting the subscription service up, Matt. Another confirmation that it works from Canada. It's worth the variable exchange rate, besides I'll clean up once maple syrup futures soar.
posted by arcticseal at 7:24 PM on May 21


duckduckgo.com is pretty much the metafilter of search engines. Small staff, results have dick to do with your past searches.

The Slate article where the guy gets "100 Beautiful Women" may say more about him than google. As an exercise do that search “most amazing woman ever” on your computer. Screenshot the results. Now do it on the stodgy coworkers box and see what you get.

Google takes in tons of information, cookies, past browsing, your logged in services, etc. to decide what to feed you. I find this great normally. It knows when I am searching for "16 Horsepower" I am not looking for lawnmowers. I find this annoying when I get ad after ad for Traktion because I use Logic.

Anyway, Duck Duck Go doesn't remember you, don't log your searches, and has nothing to report to the NSA.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:26 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Oof. I'm mostly a lurker, but...Jessamyn. Wow. Thank you so very crazy intensely much for being level, even-handed, honest, forthright, brilliant, funny....etc. GNFTI and lobstermitten, you are also really valuable around here and hope to see your names around. Thanks to you all for the hard work you have done. You've done it very, very well.

I finally joined in 2006 after lurking for many years. For five bucks!

You bet I'll give you ten bucks a month for as long as you exist.
posted by metasav at 7:27 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Your Medium article is astonishing and troubling, Matt.

Google's lack of transparency here is fucked up.
posted by my favorite orange at 7:30 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I just searched for most amazing woman ever, and I got the top hit being about the 100 most beautiful women ever. Given what I know about myself, I don't see this as more of a reflection about me rather than Google.
posted by meese at 7:33 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


The top google result for me was The 25 Most Important Wombats Of All Time.

It's possible I made a typo.
posted by ryanrs at 7:36 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


I just searched for most amazing woman ever and no results for "Jessamyn" appeared. Clearly all of these search engines are broken.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:37 PM on May 21 [24 favorites]


I'll wear This Star like a Fucking BADGE, like a Fucking COP!
posted by oceanjesse at 7:40 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


My God, that "most amazing woman" ever search leads to seriously depressing clickbait, crapola and t&a. Six out of 10 of the results on the first page are linked to "beautiful women" so I guess beautiful is the googlebot's interpretation of amazing. Mefi comes in on page 2 just before "Woman has difficulty putting on pants—leads to most amazing GIF ever."
posted by madamjujujive at 7:50 PM on May 21


So, MetaFilter has a lot of links going nowhere these days. Or links that are being redirected to landing pages and or even malicious sites. Who knows? Couldn't Google be taking that into account? What would it take to go through and delinkify 404s and redirects to people sitting on domain names and would that even help?
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:54 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I thought the same thing, Dodger... Metafilter is full of links that go nowhere. I'd be shocked if Google didn't penalize that.
posted by Yowser at 7:57 PM on May 21


The links we were getting notices about were people complaining about inbound links to their own sites claiming that Google told them that having inbound links from our site (I can't remember if they were called unnatural or inorganic) was bad mojo. These aren't redirects, they're not spamfarms, they're usually businesses who maybe were doing shady SEO in the past being told to clean up their act and get some of those "bad" inbound links gone. And they were legit links from real users who probably ... found them via Google.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:57 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


If it's backtagging/linkrot attack time again, count me in. I'm still an all-star, dangit.
posted by cashman at 7:57 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Sure, Ivan. But to take the one people are playing with, if I plug in "most amazing woman who ever lived" (no quotes) then Google (a) takes "amazing" and equates it with "beautiful" so that most of the first page of results are "most beautiful" or "hottest" and then returns a Yahoo Answers thread for "beautiful" before the AskMe thread. I don't see how that follows as a result of penalizing sites for crap inbound links.
posted by tyllwin at 7:59 PM on May 21


I haven't been around for years now, but Metafilter still has a special place in my heart and the news upset me, so I donated. And hey, this FanFare thing looks very cool. (Hi there old timers.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:59 PM on May 21 [27 favorites]


As an exercise do that search “most amazing woman ever” on your computer.

I use the Disconnect plugin to keep personal stuff out of my web searching (among other things) and Google treats 'beautiful' as so perfectly synonymous with 'amazing' that it highlights the word the same as any of the words in the original query. A "most amazing men ever" search is much more about Amazingness (although there's one 'Beautiful Men' on the first page of results - right before 2 references to Nicola Tesla, who's NOT a looker). So whatever other problems there are with the Google algorithm, it's not afraid to be sexist.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:03 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


I'm going to give you some money on payday Metafilter but if I ever read or hear anything about any of the mods doing anything even remotely fun or interesting or ever buying anything nice for themselves then I'm going to be pretty upset. I'm also going to need to inspect what you have in your supermarket trolleys at your weekly shop and if there's anything frosted in there omg
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:05 PM on May 21 [41 favorites]


Okay I'm in the game, just voted #1 Metafilter and set up my monthly payment to the quidnunc kid. LET'S WIN THIS
posted by hangashore at 8:18 PM on May 21 [11 favorites]


I'd get a second job before I'd let this place go under. Seriously. I used to be the angriest person in the world and not only did MeFi help me listen to my better angels, I'm not positive I'd have known said angels existed without this place.

I don't say this because I think it makes me special. On the contrary... I say it because I bet there are a thousand other people who feel the exact same way.

Viva MetaFilter.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:18 PM on May 21 [31 favorites]


I'll wear This Star like a Fucking BADGE, like a Fucking COP!


One day... at the scene of a fire....
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 8:19 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


You got my monthly subscription. You earned it big time.
posted by nostrada at 8:25 PM on May 21


I've been lurking most every day since I joined in 2001 and I never had to pay a dime for it. A few days ago, my modem went out and while waiting for a new one I had to use dial-up on an old, out-dated computer. Checking my email took an eternity and I couldn't operate our web business… but MetaFilter came through as fast as ever.

During this, I read Matt's announcement and I thought about how much I had lost with the slower connection. All that I took for granted had disappeared with one exception. MetaFilter has been the one steady beacon of my web experience.

For me, nothing on the internet has been more satisfying, enriching, educational or thought provoking. I don't post much, but I feel like I know a lot of you and those of us who choose to be here are part of a family. I hope that we can keep the faith, try to get along and make it a point to come out and (if you're a lurker like me) contribute to its welfare. I'm gonna do that right after I finish this up.

I don't need a gold star. Just let me know whenever you need a helping hand and I'll be there.
posted by jabo at 8:37 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


I cannot possibly be the only person who's hoping we're quietly inching toward some kind of tipping point where we get to hire one or more people back.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:45 PM on May 21 [16 favorites]


I keep checking the donation page and trying to guess how much the ongoing donations add up to.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:45 PM on May 21


Please note that it was stated that there was some belt-tightening before the layoffs - it would not be inappropriate for Matt to restore some salaries cut before doing any rehiring... not to mention making sure there is a minimal cushion for future Web Crises (and there will be some). Of course, who would want to be Matt having to choose between LobsterMitten and goodnewsfortheinsnane if he only collects enough to rehire one of them?
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:52 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


Of course, who would want to be Matt having to choose between LobsterMitten and goodnewsfortheinsnane if he only collects enough to rehire one of them?

I just assumed he'd stage a public competition--arm wrestling, a sack race, dance off, what have you.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:54 PM on May 21


Duel to the death, surely.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:54 PM on May 21


...or just Full Content Cards Against Humanity... (if you don't know what it's like, you probably wouldn't WANT to know)
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:00 PM on May 21


Sorry to flag the comment above me was testing content to follow
posted by tilde at 9:04 PM on May 21


One small (small?) code change request (I read all comment on both threads but only skimmed medium) --- add a flag for dead link rot. Maybe something can be automated to scrub out the live link, even allow a comment (mod review before live) to what it was if anyone remembers, or fresh link, similar to long term ask me follow up.

Oh, & #spamfarmmyass
posted by tilde at 9:07 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I don't need a gold star. Just let me know whenever you need a helping hand and I'll be there.

I completely agree with this sentiment; on the other hand, I think people should still consider keeping the badge on their profile, not because of ego or because you should feel like you deserve a gold star (I agree with someone earlier who suggested that a heart might be a better symbol to use), but because others may want to support MetaFilter and may either not realize how, or might not know if they should.

Your profile might be the first way someone learns that supporting MeFi is even possible. If they clicked to your profile, it's probably because of something insightful you said and they are already somewhat favorably inclined toward your way of thinking.
posted by tempestuoso at 9:08 PM on May 21 [17 favorites]


Duel to the death, surely.

In that case, the mittens will need to come off.
posted by tempestuoso at 9:09 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


> A search engine that ranks Yahoo Answers above AskMe is a broken search engine.

This may be crazy, but...

What if google's down-ranking of AskMe is not a bug, but [in their eyes] a feature, or at least an intended effect?

We've witnessed search engines evolve from simple indexes of the web to ranked results that distinguish signal from noise. The next challenge is to provide high-quality answers to complex questions, not just simple searches. Imagine a search engine that not only gives you links, but gives advice -- and not just any advice, but advice targeted to you based on what you have/haven't searched for, your IP address, what your friends appear to know, &c... and gives it to you predictively, not just after you ask.

This isn't a stretch. Google has at its disposal data encoding almost all human knowledge and a vulgar amount of computing power. We've already seen the emergence of new information from Google data with the prediction of flu epidemics from search terms. At the very least, they have enough data to construct a pretty convincing Chinese Room. And considering the quality of Yahoo Answers, it shouldn't be hard to beat.

What it will be hard to beat, though, is AskMe. But that's ok, because Google can hoard it: use the data, downgrade the search results, and give the answers themselves. They already do this with their sidebar, displaying the content from wikipedia, USDA, &c so that the user doesn't even need to click through (eg, grapefruit juice, which even has a little product-placement). If Google pulls the right content well enough, the links become superfluous. And then there's this worrisome observation from the article Toekneesan linked:
Google lists its own products, from e-commerce to pages from its own Google+ network, higher than those of its competitors, even if these are sometimes of less value for consumers and should not be displayed in accordance with the Google algorithm. It is not even clearly pointed out to the user that these search results are the result of self-advertising. Even when a Google service has fewer visitors than that of a competitor, it appears higher up the page until it eventually also receives more visitors. This is called the abuse of a market-dominating position.
All of which is to say that I hope AskMe can get back in Google's graces, but I have the creeping dread that the real problem isn't that it's not good enough, but that it's too good.

I really, really hope I'm wrong.
posted by Westringia F. at 9:13 PM on May 21 [25 favorites]


To take Westringia F.'s theory further, long cold revenge for beating them at Google Ask?
posted by tilde at 9:19 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


My regret is that, like any support system, I lean on this site the most when I can least afford to help. Like, a detailed analytical breakdown of how much traffic and how many pages I personally load every day would probably be very embarrassing. So I'm just sending a one time donation now, but I'll commit to something monthly when I am in a stronger financial situation. Thanks for all you've been doing to provide this place that gives so many of us comfort.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:44 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


"Google is an innovative company looking to disrupt how society accesses the world’s information" -- actual pitch I received from a Google recruiter the other day. Can you believe those guys?
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:45 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


What Westringia F. and tilde said.

See also what ob1quixote wrote on the State of Metafilter thread.

I'll bet this is exactly what is going on, and Google is looking for a way to monetize it--to their advantage.
posted by apartment dweller at 9:50 PM on May 21


(which means the user-funded model for MetaFilter may be the only viable one for this community.)
posted by apartment dweller at 9:53 PM on May 21


At what point is there an anti-trust argument to be made here? If Google is the de facto search engine, then it pushing its own products above competitors is akin to MSFT and IE, ain't it? /sooo not a lawyer
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:58 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


(Assuming this conspiracy theory pans out of course!)
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:59 PM on May 21


Google Settles With FTC Over Antitrust Issues: old news, Jan 2013.

But, from the article:

At the same time, the FTC voted 5-0 that Google's search results were not biased in favor of its own results in a way that was anticompetitive. Many of the practices condemned by Google's critics are used by Google's own competitors, the commission said.
posted by apartment dweller at 10:08 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I will be very curious to see what the donation numbers look like after a fundraising ask is made on the main page.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:29 PM on May 21


Ivan Fyodorovich: "As mentioned earlier, one of the things I suspect will happen about this is that it will receive some attention within Google simply because MetaFilter is so heavily plugged into the web and media community, in this context MetaFilter punches far above its weight, as measured by traffic."

On the other hand, Google Reader was an essential tool to the technorati and caused a much more bitter and widespread uproar when it was shut down, yet Google did not change course, and in fact lied repeatedly about their reasoning. I suspect the web's relatively small but influential population of old-school bloggers and open web folks are no longer at the forefront of their concerns.

Of course, with their recent, sheepish rollback of Google+ force-feeding, maybe things will change. Who knows.

Roger Dodger: "So, MetaFilter has a lot of links going nowhere these days. Or links that are being redirected to landing pages and or even malicious sites. Who knows? Couldn't Google be taking that into account? What would it take to go through and delinkify 404s and redirects to people sitting on domain names and would that even help?"

I've thought for a long time that tackling this growing problem would be a huge boon to the site, primarily in FPPs but also in questions and even comments/answers if there was enough interest/manpower.

Browsing old threads is fine for discussion, but terrible for links, since they tend to decay so rapidly. If there were an organized effort on the part of mods and deputized users à la the backtagging project to replace 404 or spam links with updated or cached versions, it would not only make the archives more useful, but also help ameliorate The Google Situation. In my own posts alone I can find dozens of dead links with working replacements that would make them useful again, even just in cases where some newspaper site redid their database and broke all their old URLs.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:35 PM on May 21 [14 favorites]


Having the ability flag rotten links, per tilde's suggestion, *and suggest updated or cached versions* at the time you're flagging, per Rhaomi's suggestion, would be excellent.
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 10:40 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


If there was an offer to turn all Mefi accounts into Google+ accounts, I'm sure that would get their attention.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Yeah, you should put a FundMetafilter link on the front page menu bar or something. I only found out about this randomly through Twitter. Chipped in a one-time bit of cash. Will aim for monthly subscription when my $ situation is better.
posted by Bwithh at 10:55 PM on May 21


I know that from in here it feels like Mefi is the center of the Internet, but in the world of online communities it's far from being a major player. Look for the Isle of Mefi north of Troll Bay, west of the Sea of Memes. No, the bigger island is Slashdot; we're the smaller one to the south.

(Strictly from a size/traffic point of view; advertising revenue unfortunately doesn't scale the same way with regards to discussion quality.)
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:59 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


My primary motivation for donating was to offset MeFi staff reductions, since I believe all the departing mods do excellent work and are instrumental to the site's general excellence.

I'm guessing some would be inspired to start contributing and others might bump up their contributions if "mitigating recent staff reductions" was an articulated fundraising goal.

Right now, the stated goal of eliminating ads isn't communicating anything I recognize as an important end in itself.

But I would bump up my $5 recurring if told e.g. that 1,000 subscribers at $15 = a mod rehire.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 11:03 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


No, the bigger island is Slashdot; we're the smaller one to the south.

I was about to object that that XKCD comic is from seven years ago, and there's no way we don't outrank Slashdot by now, but according to Alexa I'm very wrong.

And look at that graph! What happened in late 2012? The sharp decline there doesn't line up with the revenue graph in Matt's Medium post.
posted by my favorite orange at 11:06 PM on May 21


Only four years ago, but yeah.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:10 PM on May 21


Ohh, it's the second map.
posted by my favorite orange at 11:11 PM on May 21


The part I like about MetaFilter - or at least, one major thing I like - is that it's different from the rest of the internet. I can't stomach Google+ or Yahoo, either. At MetaFilter, there are civilized people discussing important issues and trying their best on AskMe to help others. There's no room for idiots here, no room for the cheap negativity or petty nitpicking that goes on nearly everywhere else I've ever visited. Reading the comments on other websites, blogs, news sites is nothing but an exercise in hopelessness - you come away convinced that the world is made up of a form of alien which appears to be human but has missing connections in the brain. I've shut off the computer and avoided the whole internet several times over the years because it can get truly frightening when there doesn't seem to be anyone left who connects dots or sees what's right in front of their nose.

I used to follow a blog - the J-Walk Blog - for years, and it was similar to MetaFilter in that mostly intelligent, thinking people spent time there. When it shut down, I was lost for a long time and, as I said, devoid of any hope that humans could be counted on to learn from others - and from history - and sustain themselves as a species.

Then I found MetaFilter and I'm sure I wept at the new hope that it wasn't entirely over after all. I'm old and disabled and can't do much of anything physical, but I can still use the computer and, most of the time, anyway, I can still think, so this is my home away from home now.

I'm so glad you're not going to just dump this whole thing, Matt, even if it has reached a sad spot in the road - I'm so glad you're going to give us a chance to help save our precious MetaFilter as a place of intelligence and peace and caring. I hope the social networking crap gets blown away by its own wind - I blame it for an overall deterioration of human grace and common sense - it separates and divides people in the worst possible way, by removing the touch, gentle sound, and visual awareness that we should be sharing with those we're communicating with. So, to me, the advancement of crap like Facebook and Google+ and all the other collections of words devoid of thought is bad enough, but for that lot to have any negative effect on the one remaining collection of rationality and reason is nothing but criminal in my eyes.

Please don't ever let this happen again - you have so many people who care about this place and we want to keep it alive, even though we understand your frustration and exhaustion. For Jessamyn, there are no words except Thank You and Please Don't Go Too Far Away. I'll miss the other two mods, too, and thank them deeply for their excellent service - together, the mods are like a pacemaker/defibrillator to me and my MetaFilter heart.

I signed up for $10 a month but could do more if necessary - I'd like to know that my fumbling with PayPal yesterday worked and you're aware of it, but I'd prefer to have no symbols or other indications of it on my profile.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you do, and thanks to all the commenters for what they do also.
posted by aryma at 11:30 PM on May 21 [27 favorites]


Oh, and could someone please explain to me how to set up whatever it is with Amazon so that MetaFilter gets a few pennies when I buy something from them?

Thanks.
posted by aryma at 11:34 PM on May 21


So funny--I post relatively little for how much I read, and quote Mefi so extensively it's just ridiculous. In for $5/month, would do more were it not for grad school. The grad school AskMe helped me get into.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 11:35 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


This whole thing is reminding me of Iceland, funnily enough. They had a surprising large source of revenue for a country of their size, and were disproportionately affected by changes to the global economy. I went there at the end of 2009, and the sense of change, and uncertainty was palpable - as was the sense that they were a tightly knit community with extraordinary resilience and the ability to survive. They haven't taken any of the bailout routes other countries have, instead aggressively forgiving debt and taking ownership of the private banks. They're doing fine. Maybe their small size allows them to do things larger countries couldn't, or maybe they really do have more integrity and commonality of purpose.

Either way, I suspect things will work out much the same way for MF.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:10 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


I've been watching the subscriber number increase all this afternoon, evening and night. I told myself I wasn't going to bed until I saw the subscriber number hit 800, which it now did - with 1,277 total supporters. I'm so very glad to be among 1,276 others who value MeFi as much as I do.
posted by jeri at 12:11 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


aryma, basically you just need to make sure you use a Metafilter link to take you to Amazon and the affiliate code will be there and then you can just shop for whatever you were going to buy after using the link. Example link for The Gift of Fear. Any of the Amazon links on this site apparently automatically will add in the Metafilter affiliate code.

I'm excited to see the number of users supporting Metafilter right now is almost 1300!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:11 AM on May 22


I cannot possibly be the only person who's hoping we're quietly inching toward some kind of tipping point where we get to hire one or more people back.

Yeah, the contributions are starting to make a serious dent in our last downgrade/loss situation, and once the dust settles and we try out the new setup next month I hope to figure out if there is a way to get some small part-time hours from the junior mods back.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:11 AM on May 22 [75 favorites]


Jinx, jeri! I see I am not the only one who's sitting around reloading that page...
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:12 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


I've cancelled my Google Music subscription and am now funding Metafilter.
posted by dhoe at 12:15 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


aryma, what treehorn+bunny said. also here is an explanation (also the comment right above it) from the giant thread if you want to know a bit more detail.
posted by twist my arm at 12:15 AM on May 22


I searched for 'the most amazing woman in the world', in quotes. Google did not give me links to beautiful women, but to amazing parents, role models, and the like. Bing gave me two links to... 12 Amazing Staircases Around The World.

What the fuck, Bing?
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:19 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I'd be pretty amazed by women who are staircases.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:22 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


It's been quite a show of support so far, especially since MetaTalk is one of the least-visited sections of the site and the (rather small) notice at the top of the pages only linked to the initial post: I noticed you have updated it to link to this post but maybe add a link to here to the top of the page AND to the sidebar? I suspect a little more attention grabbing will result in another wave of support because... well, because We're MetaFilter here!
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:27 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Replacing broken links with fixed or cached ones seems like a gargantuan task but perhaps just adding nofollow to them would have the same effect on google and could be done in a semi-automated way.
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 12:32 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Or even just making all links switch to nofollow automatically after a couple years. (I don't understand google so I don't know if this would actually help)
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 12:35 AM on May 22


Or at least adding nofollow to the links which google identifies as spammy?
posted by beniamino at 12:38 AM on May 22


That 1,000 subscribers thing? I'll put in an extra $20 on reaching it by Monday (US Memorial Day weekend). Matches happily accepted.

Only 200 subscribers to go at this point. Easy.
posted by wallabear at 12:53 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


I've subscribed and, like wallabear above, will put in an extra $20 if we reach 1,000 by Monday (UK Spring Bank Holiday) to celebrate people coming together to protect something incredibly valuable.

Only 196 to go!
posted by Gilgongo at 1:08 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I live abroad and although I'd rather do a subscription that just goes on forever, it doesn't make sense for me with the stupid international fees so I'm doing a one-off donation to cover the full year. Could you guys somehow do a yearly nudge to remind me please?
posted by like_neon at 2:14 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


I haven't been around for all the threads on this (I just got cruelly dumped) but I'm in for supporting with a one time payment (for now)

this is a good thing, this community outpouring of support for a site we know and love

and thank you to jessamyn goodnewsfortheinsane and lobstermitten for your hard work and patience with the riotous crowds...
posted by infini at 2:16 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


and like_neon, I'd be open to receiving a yearly nudge as well...
posted by infini at 2:17 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Um... I signed up for a recurring pp yesterday; is that still good or do i need to re-sign? Sadly i can only afford an AUD1 a month right now. I cancelled a well known social app with a lurid yellow colour scheme for it. Go me; Mr budget.
posted by evil_esto at 2:44 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Instead of a $20 donation I am going to buy 4 memberships (I assume it is still $5) to give to valued friends. Hopefully they might also be inclined to contribute in their turn.
posted by epo at 3:00 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


(I just got ...)

Sorry to hear that, infini; please accept my good thoughts in your direction.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:16 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


I just made a retroactive $10/month contribution since my join date (9/2001) [wow that really makes it clear how much time I've spent here!]. MetaFilter has been an amazing place and my #1 destination on the web.

As most of you know, I work at Google/YouTube. I'm probably one of the most "open" Googlers here, especially when I was at YouTube and tried to help the site and community as much as possible. I've linked publicly to myself talking on Google's behalf. Etc.

I am speaking now as myself, as I am certainly not authorized to speak on behalf of Google. I love MetaFilter, and I know many of my fellow Googlers do too. I see The Blue on a lot of monitors, and who knows how many who use the Professional White Background like me (less instantly recognizable).

I understand the anger. And yes, there is a lack of transparency around the search algorithm. I think this is a necessary thing, as the spammy SEO types would be much more powerful if they had a specific target to optimize against, and they are the enemy of useful search. Obviously I don't think MetaFilter is one of them, and I'm sad if algorithm changes have hurt it. But the idea that this was done personally, or maliciously, I just don't buy. I would stake my job and income on that. Of course, people will feel it personally, as the effects hurt something they love, and most people won't have any knowledge of the company to counter that feeling. So what to me seems like paranoia or willful/malicious misunderstanding, I understand comes from a different place.

But its not conducive to my mental health to be here right now. Its impossible to read a thread like this without getting upset on _both sides_ behalf, and I can't talk openly about what I think people are saying right or wrong (a feeling I've certainly had on specific threads, but this is the first time its related to the site itself). I don't think the tone is going to change anytime soon. So I'm going to hit the close button for a while.

Thanks Matt and jessamyn and cortex and all the other mods and pb and all the other users for an amazing site, and probably I won't be gone forever. Honestly I could probably use a break anyway since this site eats up an enormous amount of my time :)
posted by wildcrdj at 3:20 AM on May 22 [67 favorites]


I like the broken link fix thing. I have often felt embarrassed or sad that links in my own posts are broken. Many of these posts are on topics I researched and cared about. I'd love the chance to replace links in my past posts. How difficult would it be to let post authors have edit power to replace dead links? And when appropriate links can't be found, maybe just redirecting back to the popular tags page or a search page with a note the resource couldn't be found - at least then the links wouldn't take people to who knows what crap replaced the dead link.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:20 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


On a slight derail, would someone please explain to me how I submit an article to the editors at Medium? I can't seem to figure out how this site works but all the cool kids are writing there.
posted by Mistress at 3:21 AM on May 22


Years ago I had a conference and used my Costco card to sign up with a discount credit-card processing service.

For online transactions, Costco's partner is currently charging 1.99% plus 25¢ per transaction. (There will probably be a monthly charge as well.)

I know Costco is cheesy and not groovy new like Stripe but you might consider it. Or not. I'm not the king of MetaFilter, Matt is.

Speaking of which, I am still a newbie. Been around for less than a year. I understand that folks are passionate about MeFi because it feels as though it belongs to us. We've found a home here.

But it does not belong to us. Sure, it's a damn-fine community. One of the few. But it belongs to Matt. So please stop all this 501 C (3) non-profit talk.

Sure, MeFi hasn't been making a profit lately. But it has in the past and, with our support, will be profitable in the future. Thanks primarily due to Matt for imagining, building, shaping, and staffing this place with fabulous mods.

Nonprofit? Bah, humbug. This is Matt's kingdom. Why shouldn't we subscribe to MeFi as a for-profit enterprise? Netflix doesn't rely on donations. Starbucks doesn't have a suggested donation jar. My local utility won't keep the electricity on if I don't pay my monthly bill.

In my world, most things are not provided free of charge. Particularly wonderful things. (If they are, they usually come back later to bite me on the ass. There is no such thing as a free lunch, remember?)

So I ponied up for a small monthly subscription even though I am unemployed at the moment. Paying 3 bucks a month is not going to break me. It seems only fair and right to compensate Matt and the staff for the many hours required to maintain the MeFi magic.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:27 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


On a slight derail, would someone please explain to me how I submit an article to the editors at Medium? I can't seem to figure out how this site works but all the cool kids are writing there.

You don't need to submit anything to anyone, just click the 'Start Writing' button on the front page of the site.
posted by jack_mo at 3:37 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Thank you jack_mo!
posted by Mistress at 3:53 AM on May 22


I hope to figure out if there is a way to get some small part-time hours from the junior mods back.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:41 PM on May 22


Heh. He referred to them as the junior mods. I thought that was frowned upon.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:00 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Added a ten buck monthly donation. For some reason paypal treats this as an "echeck" rather than directly take it from my bank account, so it will take some days to first show up. Anybody know what's up with that?
posted by MartinWisse at 4:07 AM on May 22


Subscribed!
posted by thomas j wise at 4:11 AM on May 22


I can't talk openly about what I think people are saying right or wrong

This feeling is completely consistent with finding oneself enmeshed in a totalitarian political system.
posted by flabdablet at 4:16 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


This feeling is completely consistent with finding oneself enmeshed in a totalitarian political system.

What a helpful and constructive comment!
posted by kagredon at 4:27 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


It would be great not to turn this painful situation into an opportunity to make personal swipes at other members (or former members who we hope will return, in this case).
posted by taz (staff) at 4:33 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]


MetaTalk is such a tiny cove in the larger MetaFilter Bay. Realizing that the "State of MetaFilter" headline link on top of every page is also rather small, is there a plan to devote a more noticeable spot on every page to the donate info?

I promise I've looked at every comment tagged 'staff', but it isn't impossible that I've missed a statement about this
posted by ersatzkat at 4:35 AM on May 22


> Its impossible to read a thread like this without getting upset on _both sides_ behalf

I'm one of many people who said something critical of Google upthread. While it sounds like you won't see this comment, wildcrdj, I know there are other Googler MeFites here too, and I wouldn't like anybody to think that I blame them for Google's misdeeds, real or perceived.

With that out of the way:

I used to be a software engineer at a company that worked closely with Google products. (I maybe shouldn't be specific, but we were a successful YouTube MCN.) We had several software products that required Google APIs to function, and we were frequently in touch with people at Google. Several of our employees were ex-Googlers, and many of us had cause to visit the Google campus at one time or another.

I contributed code to several of these projects and was a principal contributor to two, one of which was the largest consumer of Google API data in our software suite.

Many, many of the engineers agreed that working with Google was a nightmare. Their lack of transparency on practically every issue was a plague. They frequently made technical decisions that seemed to be motivated by business concerns in a way that might be generously described as "capricious," but "unethical" wouldn't be off the table for me. Google made our job difficult in many ways, large and small.

In addition to the high-level business/strategy stuff, Google software was often buggy, the documentation poor, and technical support seemed indifferent or uncommunicative.

I've moved on from that position, and it's a great relief to me that I don't have to work with Google software anymore. One of my old co-workers from that company has accepted a new position working with a different part of the Google software ecosystem, and he reports that the situation there is as bad or worse.

I have no doubt that the vast majority of people at Google are talented, hard-working folks with the very best intentions, but I really really really get the feeling that there might be some serious cultural problems going on there. Or something.
posted by my favorite orange at 4:37 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]


wildcrdj, I don't think what's happening with Google is malicious, but I do think it's a result of a need by Google and others to improve monetization. In reading the Medium piece, I kept wondering if Matt's mistake was cutting the number of ads, specifically Google ads. Again, it's not evil for an index to prefer sites that improve engagement with their products, but it also isn't an index of the "best" results anymore. It's the revenue side impacting the editorial side, which as a corporation they are completely within their rights to do, but I don't think users have figured it out yet.

I'm not mad at Googlers. I know a few and have the highest regard for them, and still a bit of envy. Colleagues who were part of the early Google Books project and have been with Google since that project began have done quite well, and they deserve it. What I'm really concerned about is the leveraging of a dominant market position to control factors that have unintended consequences. I'm also concerned about a tool that has become pretty much a public utility as an index for all things digital being completely unregulated and shrouded in mystery.

I work in the publishing industry, and I've been watching another company, Amazon, flexing its marketshare in what seems to be a similar way. They are currently in a battle with the publishing giant Hachette to get better terms, and to force their hand they're telling customers that Hachette books take weeks to ship. Books like Franny and Zooey now take weeks to ship, not becuase Hachette can't provide them to Amazon's warehouses in a timely manner, but because Amazon is trying to force them to change their terms in ways that are more advantagous to Amazon over other retailers. It's also happening in Germany, and a large group of non-profit publishers I work with recently had Amazon stop ordering their books unless they too agreed to Amazon's new terms which were significantly more advantageous to Amazon.

Again, this may not be illegal, but it's wrong. And I'm not saying that what Amazon is currently doing is the same as what is happening with Google, but they are very similar in that in both cases, the average visitor to their sites assumes that the results they find are the best results, and if a book isn't available, it's the publishers fault, of if a site isn't listed it's due to the quality of the site. That's just no longer true. There are commercial aspects creeping into the Web that we aren't always aware of, and that's just capitalism working the way it's supposed to. But government and consumers need to take note. Marketshare is a force to be reckoned with, and any company leveraging that market share, while probably within their rights, are doing it for them, not for us. We live in an age of monopolies, and we're about to discover just what that means in places we thought had our best interests at heart.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:39 AM on May 22 [40 favorites]


Two more to 1337. Who wants to be 1337?

You want 1337. Do it!

As I was typing this, someone just got 1337.
posted by Flunkie at 5:04 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


And yet somehow google manages to routinely make "livestrong" links the top THREE results when I search things about health or exercise (I never, ever click those links), and livestrong is like the worst of content-mill spam, empty pointless articles typically directly copied from wikipedia or rewritten from other sites (often the CDC or the FDA or the AHA). I guess now I know why they show up so high in the rankings: They don't link to anything.

I understand this is a hard problem but this is very, very frustrating as a user. And I guess a textbook example of how incentivizing a PROXY for something always ends in unintended results that break the usefulness of the proxy. (i.e., it's hard to identify "high-quality sites" so instead of high-quality sites, google measures spam links as a proxy for site quality.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:12 AM on May 22 [22 favorites]


Random thought: Perhaps instead of
An important message about MetaFilter.
something like:
An important message about MetaFilter. And here's how you can help.
posted by Flunkie at 5:13 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Me, I got 1337! Just came in here to gloat.

Thanks, Matt, for your transparency, and thanks to the whole mod team and everyone here who makes MeFi the best place on the web, hands down. *sniff*
posted by daisyk at 5:14 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


> We're working on one-time payments via Stripe, which accepts currencies from around the world and is totally Not PayPal.

I would love to donate a copy of my book all about Stripe if it would help get you guys going faster.
posted by zrail at 5:23 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


I was following the old announcement thread intensely and didnt see this one until now, so I'll just repeat: thanks for giving us the opportunity to help out, Matt and co. I was the 800-something (27th?) number person to contribute monthly, which I funded by canceling subscriptions for other, goofier things (Birchbox, I am just going to box up many of my as-yet unused samples from you into those delightful boxes that I can't bear to throw out and put one in my mailbox every month for the next, oh, year or so).
posted by sockermom at 5:46 AM on May 22


Boyf had already subscribed for both of us via paypal, but I thought I'd subscribe an additional little amount extra each month, because I can.

::cuddles profiles star::

I'm glad we can monetize the good feeling here to keep Mefi alive.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:49 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineLand has an excellent new post explaining exactly how Google is fucking up here:

On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google: An Explainer

The meat is in the "Diagnosing Metafilter" and "Was It The Links?" sections. I'll quote from that last one at length:

Google has a link disavow tool that allows anyone who has “unnatural links” to effectively tell Google not to count them. Google should just let people use that, without causing innocent publishers to get caught up in these link walks of shame. Better, if Google is smart enough to know a link isn’t deemed “natural,” then just don’t count it...

It feels like MetaFilter was caught up in a Panda filter, despite the oddity of being slammed between them. It also feels like it’s a false positive that shouldn’t have been hit that way. Here’s hoping that Google takes a fast, closer look at the situation.

For other publishers who aren’t MetaFilter, who aren’t going to get this type of attention, the situation is less positive. The might flounder along without any outcry. But these general things would be a big help:
  • Google should disclose if a site has been hit by a particularly focused algorithmic penalty, with specific advice to consider for recovery
  • Google should disclose major algorithmic updates on a regular basis
  • Google should end the link walk of shame requirement and rely on either discounting links or the link disavow tool
There's a lot of other great, helpful stuff in that post. Well worth reading in full.
posted by mediareport at 5:58 AM on May 22 [22 favorites]


Hoping to move things to this thread, Going To Maine just posted this from Search Engine Roundtable in the earlier thread:

Google's Matt Cutts: We've Been Discussing The MetaFilter Google Penalty
posted by mediareport at 6:02 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I just activated a $10/month subscription - well worth it.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:03 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Is there a way to change your subscription amount without making a second donation? If you make two donations, will they get lumped together for paypal fee extraction purposes?

(I got a raise yesterday, y'all! I know I shouldn't gloat, but I think this is the first time in my adult life that I've got a raise that more than covered inflation.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:11 AM on May 22 [24 favorites]


There's a lot of other great, helpful stuff in that post. Well worth reading in full.
posted by mediareport at 2:58 PM on May 22


Eponysterical. :) Thanks for the link, mediareport.
posted by daisyk at 6:23 AM on May 22


Is there a way to verify that our 'subscription' is going to the right place? I didn't get an email with the super-secret-but-matt-posted-it-in-this-thread link and I'm wondering if my money is going to the wrong place... also seconding ArbitraryAndCapricious is there a way to change the monthly amount?
posted by one4themoment at 6:28 AM on May 22


I likewise did not get the email - maybe because my Paypal email and MeFi email aren't the same? I would be perfectly happy to just cancel the old subscription and re-subscribe anew directly from the fundraising page if that's the easiest thing. Please advise.

(Or don't, and I'll just email the mods in a few days if it doesn't sort itself out. This post is at least 60% about getting this thread into my recent activity.)
posted by Stacey at 6:32 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Thought: maybe as part of a fundraising thing, we could have some kind of community raffle or sale? Members could donate prizes (I have a bunch of stuff) and the money raised goes to Mefi...
posted by adrianhon at 6:35 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


me too, re the email.
posted by gaspode at 6:36 AM on May 22


(ditto on the not receiving the email - it may be to do with different emails for me as well)
posted by adrianhon at 6:41 AM on May 22


The last line of mediareport's above linked article: It is just a shame MetaFiler waited so long to come out about this.

I was thinking along the same lines yesterday. I know hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but a large portion of this site is built around solving problems, and I know I've seen people offering to donate in the past (and being told it wasn't necessary). It seems to me had this been brought up when it first became obvious, that maybe this stink could have started earlier, the tech blogs could have shined the spotlight, Matt Cutts could have been brought in earlier, months of donations could have been collected, etc. and maybe, just maybe, we would be in a different place right now.

I don't think people are done gnawing at the problem and I expect there will be more ideas that don't suck. Maybe I have a skewed perception, but this seems like an inherently solvable problem. Maybe things had to get desperate though for action to be taken. Who knows. I'm just saying it's obvious at this point that help should have been asked for earlier.

I hope this doesn't make me an asshole.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:43 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Just to put my two cents here on my donation. I feel about Metafilter the way I feel about PBS - the quality of what is on here is the payback and I don't feel the need for some special status for contributing. (slight derail, if you have seen the United States of Secrets on Frontline, it's very very good.)
posted by bluesky43 at 6:44 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I keep needing to donate to PBS. For the most part I could have cared less if they existed. I love their mission, but I am not an appointment TV type of guy, and I have no ability to DVR anything, so the channel might as well not have existed. Once they released the app though and allowed Air Play! Kaloo kalay! So thanks for the reminder.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:48 AM on May 22


Going To Maine: It is -also oddly- those standards for a sanitized discourse that allow for general discussions that contain sensitive subject matter without driving folks away.

Do you even lift, bro?

(In other words, I agree with you, Going To Maine.)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:06 AM on May 22


Google should just BUY Metafilter, double everybody's pay, otherwise leave it alone, and use it as a control content set by which the authenticity of every other website can be judged.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:07 AM on May 22 [20 favorites]


Count me as another person who did not receive the email, and I'm also suspicious that perhaps the reason is because my email account listed on my Paypal account is not the same email account as listed on my Metafilter account.
posted by Flunkie at 7:10 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


As a side note, in the eyes of the IRS, there are 29 types of tax-exempt non-profit organizations. 501(c)3 is probably the best known, but it's highly focused.

There's also a new corporate org form that might be worth looking at, a benefit corporation:
A benefit corporation or B corporation is a corporate form available in certain US States, designed for for-profit entities that wish to consider society and the environment in addition to profit in their decision making process. Benefit corporations differ from traditional corporations in regards to their purpose, accountability and transparency. The purpose of a benefit corporation includes creating general public benefit, which is defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:12 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I didn't get an email with the super-secret...link and I'm wondering if my money is going to the wrong place.

We didn't get the email sent yesterday even though we meant to. It's on the to do list for today. The best way to verify that you made the payment is to log into PayPal and check your recent transactions. If you want to check whether or not you have a recurring payment set up, you can do that at PayPal too. Here's how:

1.) Log in at PayPal.
2.) Browse to My Account > Profile
3.) Click on "My Money" on the left.
4.) Find "My preapproved payments" and click the "Update" link on the right.

That will bring up a list of your recurring payments. You can use the drop-down to sort by Active, Cancelled, etc.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:13 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Count me as another person who did not receive the email, and I'm also suspicious that perhaps the reason is because my email account listed on my Paypal account is not the same email account as listed on my Metafilter account.

Ditto.
posted by pemberkins at 7:13 AM on May 22


Newsweek's "Today in Tabs" blog:

MeFi has always been one of the most carefully moderated and scrupulously legit social sites on the whole internet, and its Q&A subsite Ask.Metafilter in particular is like Yahoo Answers in an alternate universe where every human being isn't a complete idiot. But Google decided that MeFi is a spam farm somehow, and now they have to lay off three moderators, including long-time guiding spirit Jessamyn West, and judging from this graph the future of the whole site is in grave doubt.

Google's initial premise was that the structure of the web could be analyzed to provide the best search results. The current premise of Google is that the structure of the web should conform to the demands of Google's algorithm...

[T]here exists the devastating possibility that Metafilter might just end. Everything dies, but Metafilter's time has not come yet. If it dies now, it will be because Google murdered it.

posted by mediareport at 7:14 AM on May 22 [19 favorites]


Where's that picture of Matt as Mao?

With Matt's thick-framed eyeglasses and Mao's little blue hat? Now that would be a good fund-rasing t-shirt.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:17 AM on May 22


Ironically, I can't read the Newsweek "Today in Tabs" article because I have reached my limit of five free articles this month. . .
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:23 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Ah, pb beat me to it. I didn't pay through my PayPal account though, I just set it up directly on a credit card. There's no hints in my confirmation emails about how to modify/verify that my monthly subscription is actually happening, but hopefully Metafilter is getting my money one way or another.
posted by pemberkins at 7:24 AM on May 22


Regarding dead links, here's a Firefox addon (Resurrect Page) that looks for cached and archived versions of sites, querying
o CoralCDN
o Google Cache
o Yahoo! Cache
o The Internet Archive
o MSN Cache
o Gigablast
o WebCite

I just found it, assuming someone smarter than me has already figured out a way to automate the search for alternate sources.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:27 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I really like the idea of a user project to weed out dead links, a la the backtagging project. It would be a positive for site usefulness, hopefully be helpful on the Google front, and would allow people of limited means to help out if they can't afford to donate.

wenestvedt: "With Matt's thick-framed eyeglasses and Mao's little blue hat? Now that would be a good fund-rasing t-shirt."

Yes, I would pay good $$$ for this as a t-shirt. Just replace Brand New Day with Fund Raiser.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:39 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


pemberkins, ah ok. You went the no PayPal account route. In that case you should have received an email receipt from PayPal that includes a transaction ID. If you MeFi Mail me that transaction ID I can look and make sure we have a record of it.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:50 AM on May 22


Done and done!
posted by pemberkins at 7:54 AM on May 22


Of course, who would want to be Matt having to choose between LobsterMitten and goodnewsfortheinsnane if he only collects enough to rehire one of them?

Human Mod-ipede? Four hands for the keyboard!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:07 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I would be really delighted to seek out and update dead links, should that become a thing. That is exactly the sort of nitpicky organizational task that my pedantic little heart thrives on. Consider me a volunteer.
posted by Stacey at 8:09 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


If I didn't already have my star, I'd put $10 in the kitty just to have the usernames lobsterfortheinsane and goodnewsmitten.
posted by Etrigan at 8:09 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


wildcrdj, you're a mensch and an incredibly generous one at that. I'm sorry this is a hard place to be right now; I hope we see you again soon when things have calmed down a bit in this particular wedge of the ol' Venn diagram.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:09 AM on May 22 [20 favorites]


Hey, how did this user name ever slip through?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:12 AM on May 22


I hope this doesn't make me an asshole.

This? No this doesn't make you an asshole. It was all the other stuff.

I don't really think you're an asshole, cjorgensen. I used to, though.
posted by notyou at 8:21 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Woohoo! 1417 contributors as of right now (edit: now 1427!). And it hasn't even been banner-splashed to the front page yet (please do this).

That said... I still can't help feeling a bit queasy that an even more significant amount of the site's monthly income will be flowing through PayPal. I'm betting more than a few of us remember the dustup during the user #100K raffle (see Matt's comments here et seq., and the followup thread). I'm sure PayPal has some very good business reasons for shutting down certain transactions and freezing accounts (i.e. combatting fraudsters), but I really don't think we should be that vulnerable again. Plus I'd rather see more of my monthly contribution go here rather than be eaten by PayPal fees.

After the dust settles, would it be worth looking into setting up a MeFi-only secure payment site? I know Something Awful set up their own (secure.somethingawful.com), appropriately enough in the wake of their own tangle with PayPal when running a post-Hurricane Katrina fundraiser. Worth an email to Lowtax to get an idea of how much trouble this was to set up and maintain?
posted by hangashore at 8:24 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


It looks like there's a hard space at the end of the name, Chrysostom. It was probably a proof-of-concept fucking-around joke account, which promptly got banned.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:24 AM on May 22


Hey, how did this user name ever slip through?

Oh the lessons we learned over time with username restrictions. Popping a space on the end of a character string was one thing; unicode glyph-alikes to create an apparent exact duplicate was a whole shenanigan and a half at one point as well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:24 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


I'd be happy to donate some time to port the Metafilter codebase over to the .NET framework to save money.

** ducks **
posted by blue_beetle at 8:27 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


ahh who can forget mathovvie that scamp
posted by twist my arm at 8:27 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I love the as-it-happens updating of the number of supporters on the Help Fund MetaFilter page. I checked it this morning and was pleased to see that the number was already 1,432 and even more pleased when I refreshed a couple minutes later and saw it jump to 1,433.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:36 AM on May 22


I'd be happy to donate some time to port the Metafilter codebase over to the .NET framework to save money.


Ha. I was just thinking about the fact that I have a bunch of C# code that makes integrating with the dirt cheap, locally owned payment processor we use at work a piece of cake, but it sadly wouldn't help anyone here in ColdFusion land.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:46 AM on May 22


I'm now hoping to see 1000 subscribers in the next few hours.

Really, this is very encouraging.
posted by pjern at 8:48 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


If your workplace allows you to expense subscriptions, this might be a valid expense. I've used AskMe more than once for work, so I feel it's justified.
posted by slogger at 8:49 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I'd be happy to donate some time to port the Metafilter codebase over to the .NET framework to save money.


Ah, Visual Basic should be good enough for anyone.
posted by pjern at 8:50 AM on May 22


As a subscriber, I demand unlimited use of the marquee tag.
posted by inertia at 9:03 AM on May 22


Another idea for the pot; auction off some of the untaken low user number accounts. Been done before. Currently, user accounts 2 to 7, and a few other low numbers, look untaken.
posted by Wordshore at 9:08 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Hell, you could probably re-auction that number: OneBallJay (user #8) hasn't had any activity since 2002.
posted by Etrigan at 9:10 AM on May 22


Many times I have looked at Metafilter and thought "I cannot believe I only paid five bucks for this! Heck, I'd pay five bucks a month for it."

And now I can. You all have been an awesome addition to my life and are worth every penny.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:26 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


About > It is just a shame MetaFiler waited so long to come out about this.

I'm not sure I agree. First, there's due diligence. No action was taken until every conceivable alternative was tried. It's clear that the research was done, fixes were tried, and accounts were drained, all in the hope that the most logical thing to occur, quality would win out, would happen. It's still illogical that this problem didn't right itself.

Second, this event may yet do something to fix a bigger problem, and that wouldn't have happened had Matt gone public back in 2012. Instead, every SEO "expert" in the world would have flooded the site with shots in the dark. By waiting, and attracting as much attention as this did, this could fix a significantly larger problem than just trying backroom solutions with pals at Google.

I don't fault anyone for waiting. It was clearly an act of faith. Unfortunately, sometimes, the gods aren't paying attention. This got their attention, and a lot of other attention.

Finally, it isn't June yet. It is well within the world of possibilities that jobs will be spared and in the end, the entire Internet will benefit from what Matt is learning. Hopefully even Google.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:30 AM on May 22 [19 favorites]


From Auerbach's article:
Google issues general guidelines—remove user-generated spam, keep links to a “reasonable number,” create a “useful, information-rich site,” don’t overdo guest blogging, and so on.
It sounds like Google doesn't like sites that have lots of links and multiple authors (and distinguishes legitimate links from spam mostly by quantity). MetaFilter is both of those things. Presumably, prior to November 2012, MetaFilter (or at least AskMe) was recognized as a legitimate site despite those qualities, but after that point the loophole was removed.

If that's true, there's no way to fix this.
posted by nangar at 9:32 AM on May 22


mathowie, Imma let you finish, but your math is wrong:
Join 920 others by subscribing to MetaFilter
posted by scrump at 9:34 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Matt, however it is that this turns out, I really hope that this will be a fond memory for you of how much people love the site that you started from scratch and helped (with the contributions of others on the team) build into one of the best places on the internet. You mentioned how hard it was to make some of the difficult decisions, but hopefully the outpouring of support doesn't only send money your way, but good vibes regarding how much people here really care about you and the site and the rest of the team. There's been a lot said in print over the last couple of days, but this is something pretty tangible.

Allow me to just quote this in full. It's ben a really insane week over here on the ever-expanding ranch/empire and I haven't been contributing too much to these threads, so let me just add a THIS. Thanks everyone for stepping up. I would be lost at sea without MetaFilter.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:39 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


If that's true, there's no way to fix this.

Not true, I think. Google seems quite capable of making manual adjustments. Now, this particular adjustment would likely be painful for them, but I'll bet they have some way to do it. They just need motivation.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:45 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Ironically, I can't read the Newsweek "Today in Tabs" article because I have reached my limit of five free articles this month. . .

That is when you open a private browsing session or incognito window.

posted by mudpuppie at 9:50 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]

but in a realistic world, I think it'd be great to get towards 1,000 monthly supporters.
I think I see the problem with your logic. This is MetaFilter. We don't do "realistic" here. We do "absurd" just fine, though. 922 other monthly subscribers agree with me.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet that we'll see 1000 monthlies before lunch.
posted by scrump at 9:51 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Now, this particular adjustment would likely be painful for them, but I'll bet they have some way to do it. They just need motivation.

and if they don't, fuck 'em. They may as well just admit to being run by evil robots.
posted by philip-random at 9:53 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I program, mostly T-SQL and some C# these days. If I had to describe a common thread in all the projects I've worked on since the first day I wrote a BASIC program some 30 years ago, it wouldn't be about users or particular languages or platforms, it would be one phrase: Unintended Consequences.

A sufficiently complex process will screw something up nearly every time it is changed. There is no evil in this; like so many other things, the evil, should there prove to be any, will be in how it is handled.
posted by Mooski at 10:02 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Interesting that the #100k raffle aftermath thread posits the suggestions to switchfrom Paypal to Google Checkout (ha!) and setting up a Friends of Metafilter non-profit - no follow-through on either?
posted by divabat at 10:08 AM on May 22


If monthly pledgers end up raising enough money to (re)hire additional staff, instead of immediately hiring the part-time mods back what about first hiring an experienced online advertising salesperson to acquire some less-volatile advertising contracts?

That seems like it would have the highest ROI, especially since you can probably ethically structure the salesperson's compensation so that your only fixed monthly expense is her/his employee benefits and the rest of her/his pay is on commission.

While hiring an advertising salesperson might necessitate delaying a return to full mod staffing levels for a bit, it might be worth it to make current and future mods' jobs much more financially secure.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:12 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


If I were a betting man, I'd bet that we'll see 1000 monthlies before lunch.

Where are you finding the monthly supporters number? I just see 1,474 (and climbing) on the Help Fund MetaFilter page and had assumed that was monthlies, but your comment makes me think maybe that's monthlies + one-time contributors?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:16 AM on May 22


Nevermind, I'm stupid and just found it. Those numbers are immediately above the radio buttons for monthly and one-time contribution amounts.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:18 AM on May 22


See the "Join X others" wording on that page for monthly and one-time.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:19 AM on May 22


IMO "pledging monthly to MetaFilter" would be better than "subscribing to MetaFilter" because the former implies a community of members and the latter implies customers of a business. While MetaFilter is technically a business, it *feels* much more like a community and I think you would raise more if the fundraising language reflected that.

(Maybe you should just start charging everyone who wants to give you unsolicited advice, lol.)
posted by Jacqueline at 10:22 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Getting this in before mathowie really does start charging us to give unsolicited advice:

I think it would be appropriate to have a small "Help Fund MetaFilter" ad at the top of the sidebar on every page that has sidebars, in a little box right above where the Deck ads are now.

My ideal blurb would be something like:
XX% of MetaFilter is
funded by readers like you
Help Support MetaFilter


where XX% is the percentage that monthly pledgers pay for and Help Support MetaFilter is a link to the donations page.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:30 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Well it's finally been mentioned on BoingBoing. I've been hoping they'd cover this, even submitted a couple of links myself.
posted by Toekneesan at 10:33 AM on May 22


We were considering Stripe for payments too, but it'll take a few days to hammer out code against their API.

I don't have a lot of time right this second and a quick scan shows that Bella Donna and a few others addressed this so I'll be brief - jeebus, don't invest notable time in accepting another payment source with such a high overhead. $0.30 out of each charge for a lot of smaller monthly transactions is a killer and leaving a lot of money on the table.

Get a merchant account and integrate via Authorize.net - their API is not all that hard to use. People are more likely to keep up with a monthly than a yearly and if you have 1200 monthlys and could be saving $0.10 per transaction just on the per-tranaction (ignoring the %) that's not nothing.

I saw cryptocurrency dismissed above; I have a lot of misgivings about a lot of things around bitcoin but one of the huge payoffs is low to no transaction fees. Bitpay makes accepting and converting to USD super-easy and makes deposits daily. I am not 100% sure if you can just use the free account forever and with low-ish limits and accept the price of the 1% fee (rather than being on the hook for a $30/mo account which might not do better than break even) but I think it's worth a brief look.

I know it's tempting to use some of the easier paths here but I really think you'd be better off investing the up-front time to get scale payoffs. Getting people on board for $1 a month recurring till they make it stop is easy enough to make it worth improving the take by $0.10
posted by phearlez at 10:36 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Well it's finally been mentioned on BoingBoing.

MetaFilter: impossible to post anything without pissing everyone off.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:39 AM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Jacqueline: "XX% of MetaFilter is
funded by readers like you
Help Support MetaFilter
"

"We're just $500 from our goal this hour, and if you donate now, your donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Portland Giant Donuts, Incorporated, who have also donated lunch for today's volunteers. Your donations help fund the best writing on the web, whether you're disposing of a body or trying to find out if you can eat that. MetaFilter is supported by your donations; for the price of a cup of coffee, you can ensure that we're able to provide you with great content like "why was my comment deleted" and the MetaFilter Podcast, now and in the future."

"That's right, Josh, and at the $5.00 a month level, we've got great rewards like a hemp tote bag with jessamyn's face on it. You can be the envy of the farmer's market. At the $10 level, we'll send you not just the tote bag but a hand-cranked comment generator, for those times when you can't figure out just what to say. We've got just 15 minutes remaining in this pledge drive window, so call now and become a supporter."
posted by scrump at 10:46 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]


Jacqueline, Google supplies non-member eyeballs. Switching to non-Google advertising isn't going to increase Google page rank and generate more views and clicks on the new ads.

Having the part-time mods helps, It's especially useful to have more than one mod in a European time zone, when it's night-time in the US. And, if we're losing Jessamyn, it will be really helpful to have somebody else around in the US. (Thus, we really need to get LobsterMitten and gnifti back if we can manage it.)
posted by nangar at 10:47 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Those BoingBoing commenters remind me why I stopped going to BoingBoing.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:59 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


nangar: I'm just thinking that MetaFilter's member demographics/interests* have to be a very appealing niche to at least a few businesses out there. Some of them might be interested in buying a "permanent" ad space for a fixed monthly amount, which would be a less volatile source of income than the impression/click-based ads.

*Maybe we should do a member survey to create a profile of MetaFilter for potential advertisers?
posted by Jacqueline at 11:00 AM on May 22


That 1,000 subscribers thing? I'll put in an extra $20 on reaching it by Monday (US Memorial Day weekend). Matches happily accepted.

Good grief, what was I thinking? I'll get out the credit card after work today :)
posted by wallabear at 11:06 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


mathowie: Perhaps in a year or two from now if the monthly support approached 20% of ad revenue or 50% we could start removing ads and putting up a fundraiser to remove them completely.

rabbitrabbit asked it above, and forgive me if I missed the response, but why is getting rid of ads even a goal at this point?

I think people are happy donating and still having the ads we have now. I understand that the revenue from those ads is variable and so y'all don't want to rely on that revenue exclusively, but it makes no sense to me that you'd want to reduce it on purpose.
posted by jaguar at 11:10 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I've recanted on the ads thing already. I just want to reduce our reliance on it.

It looks like we're approaching nearly 20% of the ad revenue from those thousand people doing monthly support, which is fantastic and beyond what I ever imagined. Thanks again all for chipping in.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:12 AM on May 22 [62 favorites]


*Maybe we should do a member survey to create a profile of MetaFilter for potential advertisers?

While all this "DIY let's get together and pitch-in and save the clubhouse" activity is immensely gratifying to witness (and be a part of), maybe let's not get so worked up that we volunteer to become the lambs that get sheared.
posted by notyou at 11:14 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


a hemp tote bag with jessamyn's face on it

I need dis.
posted by cashman at 11:15 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


1500 :)
posted by frimble at 11:19 AM on May 22


It looks like we're approaching nearly 20% of the ad revenue from those thousand people doing monthly support, which is fantastic and beyond what I ever imagined.

So what you're basically saying is that the funding goal is 5000 monthly supporters, right? ;)
posted by bigendian at 11:21 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


If we reach 5,000 early, we can end the drive and return MetaTalk to its regularly scheduled fabulous flameouts, schmoop, and ponies!
posted by Toekneesan at 11:24 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]


If a high-quality site like Metafilter can be crushed by Google, what hope do other sites have?
posted by phoque at 11:37 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


By the way, if you really hate Paypal, many banks will allow you to do Bill Pay with the address they've given. They'll just print and mail a check to them on your behalf. Plus you can make it automatic and monthly.

mathowie -- if there was a way to send it directly to your bank, that may be a viable option to Paypal/Stripe/etc.
posted by spiderskull at 11:43 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


The War on Links
posted by madamjujujive at 11:50 AM on May 22


I'm going to ask a likely dumb question. Any reason to not make this incident a front page post? I mean, I guess it's kind of the mother of all self links, except that this really is news and an interesting discussion over how Google ranks sites. Not the metadata threads person, but the medium post and the subsequent fallout. If this were happening to any number of other sites, I'm sure it'd be an FPP. So mods, any reason this shouldn't/couldn't be one?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:17 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Well it's finally been mentioned on BoingBoing. I've been hoping they'd cover this, even submitted a couple of links myself.

Just curious, how does BoingBoing support itself? Ads, right? Does it get 10x the users as we do?
posted by shothotbot at 12:20 PM on May 22


Is it possible to add a creepy closeup photo of mathowie's face to the Help Fund MetaFilter banner?
posted by burnmp3s at 12:22 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Done!
posted by harrietthespy at 12:24 PM on May 22


975 monthly contributors so far. You guys are really amazing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:25 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


All you guys had to do was let us know you were in trouble, ya goofballs. :)

(insert Ask/Guess quip here)
posted by kimberussell at 12:29 PM on May 22 [38 favorites]


Links can hurt your site now.

The six words that represent the most depressing future for the Web. The Web was BUILT on links. Then some "SEO Masters" found a way to use them illegitimately, and now Google can't figure out how to differentiate between the "legitimate" and "illegitimate" links? If this is what 15 years of research to develop an "intelligent search engine" has brought us, I NEVER want to ride in one of their "intelligent cars".
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:33 PM on May 22 [22 favorites]


GuessMetaFilter: insert Guess here
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:35 PM on May 22


Just curious, how does BoingBoing support itself? Ads, right? Does it get 10x the users as we do?

BB seems a lot smaller in scope then MF and they do insert full color promotional material directly into their scroll from time to time, as well there is a moderate amount of "This $_thing is cool!" posts which I suspect is advertising even though it doesn't identify itself as such. After trying one of those $_things I no longer trust their endorsement and wouldn't buy anything they suggest purely on their suggestion.

After their site redesign I've found myself going there less. I did try and get use to it, but it still kinda breaks my brain just a little with how busy it is.
posted by edgeways at 12:37 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


oneswellfoop the algorithms the NSA uses to decide who is an enemy are not too different.
posted by bukvich at 12:37 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


It's totally kosher not to answer this question, but if it's ok to ask, what's the average sustaining member donation?
posted by edgeways at 12:38 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


20 bucks, same as in town.
posted by Mooski at 12:39 PM on May 22 [21 favorites]


Is there a way to subscribe anonymously? Is it within the PayPal UX, after subscribing? Sorry, looked through the thread but didn't find any info.
posted by kyp at 12:41 PM on May 22


oneswellfoop the algorithms the NSA uses to decide who is an enemy are not too different.

Ah, that's why their hauled away the next door Quakers but ignored the fellow down the street with piles of suspicious pipes littering the back yard

just JOKING NSA
.
.
.
there really are no Quakers next door.

posted by edgeways at 12:41 PM on May 22


the algorithms the NSA uses to decide who is an enemy are not too different

yes, but the American Flag I painted on the roof seems to be keeping the drones away...
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:41 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Ok, I rolled up my monthly sub and gave it to Metafilter as a one-time contribution. I'd sign up for an annual reminder, or a recurring monthly charge if there was a better option than Paypal.

I don't trust Paypal and the EBay data breach just compounds my discomfort with them.

Maybe Dwolla, with no fee for payments under $10, would be a good fit?
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:47 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


there really are no Quakers next door.

The NSA probably hauled them away.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:47 PM on May 22


By the way, if you really hate Paypal, many banks will allow you to do Bill Pay with the address they've given. They'll just print and mail a check to them on your behalf. Plus you can make it automatic and monthly.

Just thinking out loud... this would be, in many ways, more appealing to me than setting up a PayPal subscription, but I wonder if the hassle of dealing with checks on a monthly basis would be more expensive in terms of labor costs for MetaFilter Inc than the PayPal fees. Someone has to pick up the checks each month from the P. O. Box, enter them into the accounting system, and then deposit them. Whereas with an online payment, MF can track the donation electronically.

Not trying to discourage others from going this route if it works for them, just pondering if for me, it would be better to hold my nose and use PayPal (or the forthcoming Stripe option, which I know nothing about).
posted by donajo at 12:49 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Ten more to 1,000 subscribers. Do we need to start chanting or doing the wave or something?
posted by mudpuppie at 12:54 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


10 away from 1000!
posted by Carillon at 12:55 PM on May 22


Jinx mudpuppie!
posted by Carillon at 12:56 PM on May 22


Hey, forgive me if this has already been mentioned and discarded, but I wonder if the site could also fundraise via smartphone apps.

I’m aware that the site does a pretty awesome job of displaying itself already in mobile browsers, but these could even be something as low-effort as mobile-site-in-a-code-wrapper apps in the relevant app stores.

That concept might rankle, but they wouldn’t have to pretend to be anything more than they are: buy this to help us fundraise, and in exchange, you get something that lives in your app drawer instead of where your bookmarks are.

For future development, you could see if there are coders who are cash-poor but time-rich who might be interested in helping the site with richer-feature versions, stuff with Mefiquote and other such features built in.

Just tossing the idea out there to let it fly or fall with a thud. =)
posted by WCityMike at 12:56 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Yay, the fund Mefi banner is up on the subsites! [insert clever name here] are you still working on that FPP? This thread and the State Of Metafilter thread should provide enough links and info to craft a FPP with.
posted by travelwithcats at 12:58 PM on May 22


I have to say, I would pay big money for an app that made it easy for me to keep track where I am in a thread. Now that I use my phone at home more than my laptop, I miss that greasemonkey script that kept track of your location in threads something fierce.
posted by meese at 12:59 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


993! Seven more to go!
posted by marsha56 at 12:59 PM on May 22

It's totally kosher not to answer this question, but if it's ok to ask, what's the average sustaining member donation?
In mathowie's article on Medium, he wrote:
Much to my surprise, several hundred people have already given money as one-time contributions and/or set up monthly subscriptions, with the average contribution at nearly $10.
But that was pretty early on, so please take it with a grain of salt.
posted by Flunkie at 12:59 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I'm in the process of changing my CC, but I gave some $$ in the meantime. Mefi does such a number on my productivity that giving money outright makes sense.
posted by ersatz at 1:00 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]

Is there a way to subscribe anonymously?
Snail mail cash?
posted by Flunkie at 1:02 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


4 to go!
posted by jokeefe at 1:03 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Is there a way to subscribe anonymously?

Just log out for the time of the transaction!
posted by travelwithcats at 1:04 PM on May 22


I can see y'all's finger hovering over that button, hoping be #1000...
posted by wallabear at 1:07 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


but in a realistic world, I think it'd be great to get towards 1,000 monthly supporters.

5/22/14, 1:09pm: Join 997 others by subscribing to MetaFilter

I'm so nervous. Maybe I'll just sign up again three more times.

posted by SpacemanStix at 1:10 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Three more to go. I hope #1000 at least gets a set of steak knives.
posted by scody at 1:10 PM on May 22


Number 999 gets the steak!
posted by Carillon at 1:11 PM on May 22


**cue the balloon drop**
posted by mudpuppie at 1:11 PM on May 22


Ooh! We could give the 1000th subscriber the 100000th user number! I mean... It never got used, after all.
posted by meese at 1:12 PM on May 22


Two more to go!
posted by marsha56 at 1:12 PM on May 22


1000! *balloons*
posted by divined by radio at 1:13 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


1000!
posted by trunk muffins at 1:13 PM on May 22


> It looks like we're approaching nearly 20% of the ad revenue from those thousand people doing monthly support, which is fantastic and beyond what I ever imagined.

This means 20% of difference between the pre-Nov. 2012 level of monthly ad revenue and current levels? Or 20% of current total ad revenue?
posted by nangar at 1:13 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


1000!
posted by EmilyClimbs at 1:13 PM on May 22


*waves pompoms*
posted by jokeefe at 1:14 PM on May 22


1002!
posted by jokeefe at 1:14 PM on May 22


Bah
posted by Bovine Love at 1:14 PM on May 22


Huzzahs and confetti !!
posted by marsha56 at 1:14 PM on May 22


*kermit arms*
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:14 PM on May 22 [53 favorites]


Aw man, I didn't get to see it. It's already up to 1,004.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:15 PM on May 22


"Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Love Clarence."
posted by Toekneesan at 1:15 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Yeah, on second thought, I wish I had added that monthly payments through paper checks would likely be a huge hassle for them. I was thinking more along the lines of single donations, but then again, I really have no authority on this.
posted by spiderskull at 1:16 PM on May 22


Links can hurt your site now.

The six words that represent the most depressing future for the Web.


I am still bewildered that this can be such a fer reaching part of the algorithms when it can be so easily done to someone else by their enemies/competitors/haters.
posted by soelo at 1:16 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Rah rah!
posted by palegirl at 1:17 PM on May 22


Since there appears to be no way to determine who was actually the 1,000th subscriber, I will claim it was me, and since I was the first one to do so no one else gets to. Nyaah.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:18 PM on May 22


The last line of mediareport's above linked article: It is just a shame MetaFiler waited so long to come out about this.

I was thinking along the same lines yesterday.


I thought that too -- until yesterday, when Matt indicated that they were at break even for a year and then took another big hit in April. This is May. It looks to me like he acted in a very timely fashion.

I don't know what all was done previously to try to resolve the financial issues but, previously, he was not in a crisis state, needing to layoff people to avoid MetaFilter dying. He pretty suddenly found himself in that state and acted fairly quickly. I am glad to see that he hasn't stupidly turned down donations (I know a site where the owner turns his nose up at that) and that once people began saying "Shut up and take my money!" he and his team got on the task of making it easier to take the money. I am thrilled he is going to revisit the question of bringing back the "junior mods" at least part-part-time if it becomes clear he can afford it.

Now they just need to make an Amazon link more prominent (when they can get to it) and see if they can't do some Cool Stuff to Buy from the site that is all about Cool Stuff on the Web (again: when they can get to it). And, you know, we can largely quit worrying what Google is doing. (If we can help Google wise-up, bonus! I like a lot of what Google does so I would love to see this make them better too. But, you can only do as much as you can do. Taking care of MetaFilter is within our collective power. Google, not so much.)
posted by Michele in California at 1:19 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


1,000 subscribers is a very impressive percentage of the user base. Yay for everyone who loves MetaFilter!
posted by shothotbot at 1:19 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Suck it Google.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:20 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]

Aw man, I didn't get to see it. It's already up to 1,004.
1004 is even better! Woohoo 1004!
posted by Flunkie at 1:23 PM on May 22


Yay! I was hoping we could someday hit that number, mostly because of the old Kevin Kelly piece on 1,000 True Fans.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:24 PM on May 22 [21 favorites]


Aw, I missed the 1,000 subscriber mark! I was ready to celebrate with my bottle of champagne*.

Oh well, happy 1,007 metafilter!


*cherry coke zero.
posted by inertia at 1:25 PM on May 22


Someday came fast!
posted by travelwithcats at 1:27 PM on May 22


Please ignore if this is info I/we don't need to know, but how many monthly subscribers, at an average of $10 (which may no longer be the correct average amount) do we need to return things to where they were pre-whackiness?
posted by korej at 1:27 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


*jack and coke
posted by one4themoment at 1:28 PM on May 22


Someday came fast!

Well, he's still a teen, and this was his first time.
posted by Toekneesan at 1:30 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


travelwithcats, I am working on an fpp, but if someone beats me too it, that is also alright by me.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:30 PM on May 22


This is seriously one of the best things I've witnessed first hand. I think in large part because it was so unexpected, from inception to success.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:30 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


jeez you guys... if you keep sending me hugs, I'd have to bust the piggy bank and double the budget already just to keep this place going... i only mentioned it to 'splain why I hadn't shown up in any of the threads earlier...
posted by infini at 1:31 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Happy to up the counter by one. Keep up the good work!
posted by HarrysDad at 1:32 PM on May 22


[insert clever name here], cool. See you there! Looking forward to your post, I mean.
posted by travelwithcats at 1:33 PM on May 22


Congratulations — now let's put another zero on that number and make it 10,000.

That won't happen in the current flurry of excitement, but just for the heck of it, I will pledge an extra $100 if we hit 10,000 monthlies by the 4th of July. I'm already in for a monthly subscription. I seriously think it's entirely possible to reach 10,000 in that time frame, with a little ongoing hoopla.

As part of that, I also seriously think a formal membership model should be constructed and promoted, sort of like the one they are just rolling out at Slate, for "Slate's most loyal (and vociferous) fans." (But, no, not with the same features Slate is putting into theirs. A membership model that's appropriate for Metafilter.)
posted by beagle at 1:35 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Gave. Wish I could have given more. Metafilter's done so much for me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:37 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


The USD amount converted into my birthdate in SGD ...way cool. Pity it doesn't make fiscal sense to subscribe monthly via paypal, would love to be a proper subscriber... Can we set up some means to identify ourselves as such even if we purchase a couple of years at a time?
posted by infini at 1:42 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I think it would make sense somehow give 'onetime' contributors an option to request monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual reminder emails and specify an amount, partly to to give Matt a better idea of future revenue and help with budgeting. (There would need to be a way for people who have already contributed to request this.)
posted by nangar at 2:00 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Bah
posted by Bovine Love

There's something not quite bovine about that utterance...
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:08 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


MeFi
posted by davidjmcgee at 2:09 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


I used to give a lot to a particular website during their annual fund drives. What was key to getting me to give more was that they kept a fund-drive thermometer with a goal for the fund drive (what they needed to fund their site for a year). So at the beginning of the fund drive, I would contribute an amount that I felt comfortable giving. Then every few days, I would checkout the thermometer and send them a few more bucks each time if it looked like they needed more help getting there. They stopped doing the thermometer. I still do a modest contribution at the beginning of the fund drive, but nothing more after that.

I would love it if MeFi would do a thermometer. I think we are in a fund-drive mode at the present. Figure out what it would take to run the site for a year with a comfortable number of mods and to do it from donations alone. Count the single contributions and count the monthly subscriptions times twelve. If the ad money is continuing to fall, we can't count on that. So consider it lagniappe and put it away for the next rainy day.

Pick an end date for the drive, maybe July 1st or whatever makes sense. I would check the thermometer daily and every time it looked like we might fall short, just say okay no latte today, and chuck in another single $3 or $5 or whatever I could comfortably give trusting that enough others would do the same and that we would get there. Contain the drive in a single MeTa thread. Make the thread and the contribution page prominent on all front pages. Maybe deputize a volunteer mod to handle questions in the thread so you guys wouldn't have to bother with it.

Just some ideas. No need to do anything about them right now or ever. Apologies if I'm just one of the ones throwing more ideas at you that you can handle right now.

Know that it's all done out of love for you and your steadfast integrity and your staff (past and present) and your fantastic creation that means so much to us all.
posted by marsha56 at 2:22 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Subscribed. I'll eat PBJ one extra day each month instead of eating out.
posted by rouftop at 2:36 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


The number of subscribers was briefly 1024. I grinned. A megabyte of Mefites.

I've kicked in for a monthly subscription. This place is basically my online home. I mean, I've been on Metafilter longer than I've held any job in my life. In fact I think it's basically my single longest organisational involvement of any kind, beating any school, university, workplace, club or association I've ever been in.

That's worth keeping alive. Now let's hit 2,000 subscribers.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:37 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Okay, so I was slightly wrong in my earlier prediction: it took us until partway through lunch to break 1,000.
posted by scrump at 2:38 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


In fact I think it's basically my single longest organisational involvement of any kind, beating any school, university, workplace, club or association I've ever been in.

Related to this, I was thinking earlier that the reason I don't encourage family or people I know to read Metafilter is that I'm worried they'd figure out which username is mine, and I share waaay more here than I do with them. I'm still struggling to figure out what that says about me and how I feel about it, but the takeaway is that this has been a long-term comfortable place for me, too. *shrug*
posted by mudpuppie at 2:55 PM on May 22 [20 favorites]


the reason I don't encourage family or people I know to read Metafilter is that I'm worried they'd figure out which username is mine, and I share waaay more here than I do with them.

Heh. I totally thought I was the only one.
posted by scody at 2:59 PM on May 22 [24 favorites]


I cancelled my WoW subscription since I realized I don't play anymore, and was going to sub to MeFi instead, but apparently PayPal needs a couple of days to make sure I'm who I say I am, an issue I have literally never seen with any other online payment site. So, uh, gonna be next week I guess.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:59 PM on May 22


The number of subscribers was briefly 1024. I grinned. A megabyte of Mefites.

One KiloFite.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:00 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Pope Guilty: "One KiloFite."

Or, if you're in a country that uses Imperial, one scody.
posted by scrump at 3:01 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]


There. In for a bit, more later when the job thing settles out. I am also going to stop lurking since I have been reading multiple times per day since 2000 and it is just ridiculous that I am quiet here of all places.

Thank you for making this such an awesome place. I would be lost without Metafilter.
posted by ugf at 3:03 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


As long as predictions are in order, 1500 is easily reachable by early Saturday (with the virality of the news, the pace is not going to slacken much before then), 2000 early next week and at least 2500 before the counter stops for more than an hour - MAYBE 3000.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:04 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I have it on good authority that Paphnuty badly wants to contribute, but the cabal* won't loosen his dungeon chains enough for him to do so.

FREE PAPHNUTY!

*TINC
posted by languagehat at 3:04 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


And now over 600 one-time contributors. Mad props to all.

FREE PAPHNUTY!

...for our special Elite-Level Gold-Star Donors! (OffervoidinTennessee.)
posted by hangashore at 3:06 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


If we get to 2500 subscribers then I'll donate my user number in dollars. Or I'll donate the equivalent amount in a fundraiser, if that happens before we hit 2500.

Thank god I signed up early...
posted by adrianhon at 3:08 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


As soon as I get home tonight I'll be joining the throng of monthly subscribers. The Internets would be a very sad, and much dumber, place with MeFi.
posted by sarcasticah at 3:10 PM on May 22


"I've been on Metafilter longer than I've held any job in my life. In fact I think it's basically my single longest organisational involvement of any kind, beating any school, university, workplace, club or association I've ever been in."

Yeah, I even think many mefites have a longer relationship with the site than with sexual partners.
posted by travelwithcats at 3:11 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


travelwithcats:"Yeah, I even think many mefites have a longer relationship with the site than with sexual partners."

You spotted my deliberate omission, I see.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:17 PM on May 22


Nah, I checked - you're taken. No further questions.
posted by travelwithcats at 3:18 PM on May 22


                  supported
Metafilter: Community ^ weblog
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:20 PM on May 22 [31 favorites]


Lurkers are also members!

So many aren't though. Are people who feel compelled to Help MetaFilter who aren't members yet getting 'Choose Your Username' emails like the ones that go out when I gift an account?
posted by carsonb at 3:24 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Gosh, I stepped away to string some beans and the number of subscribers has topped a thousand!
posted by Anitanola at 3:28 PM on May 22


In other words, maybe below the 'One time contribution' area on the fundraising page add one more area that says "Sign up for MeFi!"
posted by carsonb at 3:38 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Pretty big plate of beans!
posted by leslies at 3:38 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I haven't been particularly active for a long time, but I still peruse regularly, and Metafilter has been such an important part of my life that I am definitely chipping in. I can't afford much, but I'll do what I can. I hope it helps.
posted by Caduceus at 3:38 PM on May 22


Sooooooo... can we get an update on how much in aggregate we ended up throwing into the pot per month and one-off? Just curious is all.
posted by Talez at 3:40 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Talez: "Sooooooo... can we get an update on how much in aggregate we ended up throwing into the pot per month and one-off? Just curious is all."

$20, same as in town.
posted by scrump at 3:50 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Glad to be a $3/month member/lurker. There is other place on the web with such a great mix of edifying topics and dog/bucket videos. Reading MetaFilter has helped me to become both more open-minded and a better critical thinker, and you all have also been a primary contributor to my developing understanding of trans* issues. A big thank you to mathowie and the mods (both departing and continuing) for working hard to cultivate an environment of open, respectful discussion and real community.
posted by fussbudget at 3:51 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


One day I hope to be able to make the joke about our power levels being over 9000!
posted by Carillon at 3:54 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


By aggregate I mean in total between all of us. It's one thing to see 1,000 people funding it. But if we need to put in more I'd like to know sooner rather than "three moderators being laid off" levels of later. :P
posted by Talez at 3:55 PM on May 22


MetaFilter: impossible to post anything without pissing everyone off.

MetaFilter: I don't think you know how taglines work.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:56 PM on May 22


Well, you can pretty easily spitball an estimate.... If the average subscription is $5/mo, we're already looking at $60,000 a year in extra revenue, which is more than I make in salary as a postdoc. No idea how much decent benefits cost, though.

QUESTION: Is it better, given Paypal's transaction costs, for me to do one big lump-sum payment for the year, or to give a smaller ongoing subscription?
posted by kaibutsu at 4:03 PM on May 22


Monthly funding average is actually a bit higher! About $6.20 per funder across the total, though we've seen a range of stuff above and below that obviously.

The numbers as of right this moment:

- 1098 members are contributing $6,870.70 monthly.
- 625 members contributed $21,940.18 as a one-time contribution.

It doesn't entirely replace the shortfall we were dealing with, but it goes way, way farther than what the typical-engagement napkin math we were gloomily fixating on in the run-up to Monday's announcement.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:08 PM on May 22 [58 favorites]


that's crap! where's our secret cabal billionaires?
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:10 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


$5/mo is what I'd spend on stupid in-joke sock puppets anyway. Done.
posted by Fezboy! at 4:11 PM on May 22


"Yeah, I even think many mefites have a longer relationship with the site than with sexual partners."

Hell, my son started kindergarten, graduated, and moved out in the time I've been hanging out here.


It doesn't entirely replace the shortfall we were dealing with, but it goes way, way farther than what the typical-engagement napkin math we were gloomily fixating on in the run-up to Monday's announcement.


Oh ye of little faith. :-)
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:12 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


That's pretty awesome.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:12 PM on May 22


QUESTION: Is it better, given Paypal's transaction costs, for me to do one big lump-sum payment for the year, or to give a smaller ongoing subscription?

I think the main transaction ding in question is usually a flat $0.25-0.30 fee from most vendors, Paypal included; on top of that there's usually a 2-3% proportion. So for sufficiently small monthly payments the flat fee becomes more of a concern, and optimizing toward a lump payment may be better. But ultimately, anything helps and whatever method is most workable for you is the one to go with.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:13 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


I feel like I shoukd register all the Hannibal-characters-as-AskMe users names me and tel3path came up with, just as another sign of support.
posted by The Whelk at 4:13 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


*kermit arms*

Seriously dude, you have mod powers. Post the fucking gif!
posted by cjorgensen at 4:14 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


If there is anything else you should need, just ask.
posted by bensherman at 4:14 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


"It doesn't entirely replace the shortfall "

Well, the fundraising banner went up only a few short hours ago.
posted by travelwithcats at 4:16 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Typical engagement napkin? Motherf-! THIS. IS. METAFILTER! Ain't nothing typical 'bout this place. Ain't no bullshit 1%, 2%, 5% conversions from active users here!
posted by adrianhon at 4:17 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I am still bewildered that this can be such a far reaching part of the algorithms when it can be so easily done to someone else by their enemies/competitors/haters.

Read up on google bombing or if you want to see this at work just read.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:19 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Awesome! Up ahead, $10,000/month in recurring donations-- let's do this!

I know you're all super-busy but if you feel like it, I bet you could build some extra excitement and contributions by posting some additional updates on the dollar totals from time to time as we get closer to $10,000 a month-- and perhaps round numbers beyond?
posted by EmilyClimbs at 4:22 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I know this won't go over well, but if you want to attract more readers, you might want to try a different combination of background and text colors. You know, something more ... professional.

I once showed AskMe to a friend and recommended she trying it out to solve her problem, and her instant response was: "I can't use that site, it looks terrible." White on green doesn't do justice to the best question-answering site on the internet. (Of course, the original colors could remain an option for Mefites, so no one could reasonably complain that they've lost anything.)
posted by John Cohen at 4:22 PM on May 22


She'd get used to it.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:24 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


@John Cohen - there's an option to go with a white background in Settings.
posted by getawaysticks at 4:27 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


She'd get used to it.

So what? She never started using it in the first place — that's the problem.
posted by John Cohen at 4:28 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I am subscriber 1111 (or 1112). Yay!

I've actually been trying to subscribe all day, but Paypal wasn't letting me subscribe without having my security key code. (Instead of bypassing it with the secret questions)
posted by getawaysticks at 4:29 PM on May 22


@John Cohen - there's an option to go with a white background in Settings.

I know, that's the setting I use.

I'm talking about people who don't have accounts who get here from Google. That's what this whole thing with Metafilter losing money is about.
posted by John Cohen at 4:29 PM on May 22


Actually, the whole thing is about people NOT getting here from Google.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:30 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


True, they don't get here in the first place, so what I'm suggesting is not a panacea. But still, the shortfall is not about Mefites like you and me. It's about random people out there who haven't heard of Metafilter yet.
posted by John Cohen at 4:32 PM on May 22


See, I was right: my suggestion didn't go over well!
posted by John Cohen at 4:34 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


What does the color of the background have to do with the quality of the answers? Like a lot of other elements, that color is a filter. If that color stops her, she probably wouldn't like the answers.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:36 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


I tried to get my mom interested in metafilter and she was too upset by the background colors to really use it, too. But I would argue that the background colors are an ingrained part of site culture, much like unthreaded comments, which also turn potential users off (that's why my boyfriend isn't a user here). I think that the way that we do favorites is another, perhaps more extreme, example of site culture that is unusual and not for everyone. The pushback on changing the background colors here would probably be pretty intense, and the gain would likely not be significant enough to justify shaking up the community - especially right now.
posted by sockermom at 4:40 PM on May 22


I am subscriber 1111 (or 1112).

How can you tell your number?
posted by Room 641-A at 4:42 PM on May 22


John Cohen:

I don't think "attracting more readers" is really the issue. I think MetaFilter already has a value position and just needs to figure out how to effectively monetize what already exists (and is tremendously valued by many people). I am glad to see they jumped on the "taking donations" thing. As far as I know, in terms of new subscribers, traffic, etc, the site health is fine. It's just the pocketbook took a hit cuz Google. And, you know, fuck em. There are other ways to monetize something that a lot of people clearly value.

I see no reason to think a major pain in the ass design overhaul will do anything to fix the money problem. And with donations alone, after a really short time, the site is pretty far towards fixing that, it seems. More can be done in other areas and they sound like they are looking at those other areas (like making Amazon links more visible). They probably have not yet even received any of the paper checks some folks said they would send. So the amounts listed above are "first blush" and the total is very much a moving target. Give it at least a month to see where this really stands before anyone suggests any big changes. The site does not need big changes. It just needs a few small tweaks to make it better monetized.
posted by Michele in California at 4:42 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


See, I was right: my suggestion didn't go over well!

The reason I reacted wasn't so much because you made a bad "suggestion," but because you came into a rah-rah thread (and one that demonstrates a big pile of human goodwill that you don't often come across) and unequivocally stated that you know what the site's problem is and your sole source of evidence was some something that one of your friends said.

So, you know.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:48 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


[...] unicode glyph-alikes to create an apparent exact duplicate was a whole shenanigan and a half at one point as well.

I would like to hear more about this concept of fractional shenanigans. I believe this breaks new ground in terms of japery theory.
posted by FishBike at 4:51 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Well, you've got your jink as a base unit; five of those gets you a hijink, but people usually count those by twos. Three hijinks is a prank; two pranks a foolery; a foolery-and-a-half is common known as a tomfoolery (in some counties referred to as a "twice-shy"), and then five tomfooleries gets you a whole shenanigan.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:54 PM on May 22 [92 favorites]


My own brand of OCD doesn't like monthly subscriptions, I don't care for inexactitude or shallowness.

So, I'll just dump a year into your lap at once. Go MetaFilter!
posted by Sphinx at 4:58 PM on May 22


Is the not-so-secret-link still going to be emailed out... I just want to know if I'm counted in that thankfully ever increasing number
posted by one4themoment at 5:05 PM on May 22


But still, the shortfall is not about Mefites like you and me. It's about random people out there who haven't heard of Metafilter yet.

Right, but I fail to see how that has anything to do with the site design. The shortfall is due to fewer people coming here in the first place, which won't be ameliorated by changing the background color. It's not that your suggestion isn't going over well because old-timers are stubbornly attached to the design; it's that your anecdote about your friend's reaction to the design doesn't actually illustrate why Metafilter's revenue took such a sudden hit in 2012.

Also, I suspect your friend might have had a different reaction in the first place if her way of finding Metafilter was not that you showed it to her, but if she found it herself. In other words, if she googled a particular question or interest and Metafilter was among the first results she got, then she would have a direct experience of the quality of content that exists here, regardless of what she might think about the color of the background. But if she only gets here because you tell her about it and not because Google drove her here (even if there's the perfect thread for what she's seeking), then she has no immediate experience of Metafilter's content being useful for her, and so her unfamiliarity with the design might turn her off.

So once again we're back to the primary issue being how much traffic Google drives to Metafilter, not what newcomers think of Metafilter's design once they get here. If white-on-green was the primary problem, the drop in revenue would have started happening many years earlier and would have been more gradual than what Matt & Co. have actually seen.
posted by scody at 5:06 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


Room 641-A: In the upper-right, click on your user name to go to your profile. Look in the URL - it'll be http://www.metafilter.com/user/#### with #### representing your user number.
posted by radioamy at 5:08 PM on May 22


ps I'm using this moment as an excuse to go grab a bottle of wine... thanks in advance...
posted by one4themoment at 5:10 PM on May 22


That's your user ID, not which subscriber you are. When you go to the subscription page, it shows you how many people have already subscribed, which gives you a close idea. I was 1100 and something, I think...
posted by WaylandSmith at 5:11 PM on May 22


five tomfooleries gets you a whole shenanigan

In the metric system, a quarter of a tomfoolery is a brick. That makes a shenanigan twenty bricks. Same as in town.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:11 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


I don't think you can so neatly separate the issue of site design and whatever happened to drive down the site's Google ranking. Google is famously a "black box," but people who seem well informed are saying that Google uses some measures that might be impacted by site design - e.g., the "bounce back" rate and how often people are linking to the site across the internet (which in turn depends on strangers engaging with the site).

I know one of the reasons Matt & Co. have stood by the current design is precisely because it discourages certain types of user engagement. I've heard Matt talk about the "wall of text" that someone looking to sign up confronts, for example. This generally keeps out hordes of bad users.

That makes sense if the single goal is maintaing high quality users, but it comes with trade-offs that we may be seeing in the decreased ranking. If there is another goal of earning a reasonable amount of money (which is a perfectly good goal), then these trade-offs may need to be revisited - not in some kind of sweeping redesign, but in some gradual adaptation to more "current looking" design.
posted by Mid at 5:15 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Like favorites and the $5 n00bs, I was a subscriber before we were counting.

CTRL-z'd and CTRL-v'd the requisite number of times before posting.
posted by carsonb at 5:16 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


You know, I would sponsor the next 20 sign ups of people who claim they can't afford it. Seriously. Guy writes and says, "I would love a membership, but I can't afford it." He gets an email that says, "Hey, good news! We have a limited number of sponsored accounts for people in your situation. You account has been enabled curtesy of $.com."
posted by cjorgensen at 5:19 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


You know, I would sponsor the next 20 sign ups of people who claim they can't afford it.

I've been making a mental list of friends who don't already have accounts, but who would, I suspect, enjoy this place and fit into the culture. Or, debating throwing caution to the wind and making a "the first four friends to respond to this" status update on Facebook to gift accounts.

Out of curiosity, have new account/gift account numbers increased in any appreciable way since the news broke?
posted by booksherpa at 5:28 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


What does the color of the background have to do with the quality of the answers?

The problem is Google doesn't have a magic way of determining the actual quality of answers. What they might be able determine however is things like whether people click through to Metafilter from Google, spend much time on the page they were directed to, look at other Mefi pages once on the site, or having clicked through to Mefi from search results once whether they are inclined to click through to Mefi again in search results in the future.

So if the average Google searcher takes a look at Mefi's wall of text in unusual colors, thinks "WTF?", and clicks away, that may incline Google's algorithms to conclude that the Mefi page wasn't a useful result to have delivered.

Now I can remember back before I became a Mefi member. If you're not reading them regularly and used to the conventions, the AskMe pages are pretty hard to parse visually.

What actually is the exact question being asked and answered? Where does one answer stop and the next answer begin? Which answers turned out to be good, and which were demonstrably flawed? Who the heck are the people answering, and are they credible?

All those kinds of things are pretty hard for someone arriving from a search engine to figure out, esp compared with the likes of Stack Exchange say. Or for that matter a decent blog post looking at the same issues.

Plus there are no images or videos whatsoever, however helpful it might be for answers to that question to have some illustrations.

So if the visual layout of the site somehow puts searchers off, it may put Google off from offering it up as a result. And rightly so perhaps, if searchers are not getting the value of the content because bewildered by the look and feel.

To be clear, it's uncertain whether Google actually uses this kind of info as input to search rankings, but some people think it does, and it would make sense for them to do it.

It might be a good idea for Matt & co to look at serving the pages in a different format for not-logged-in visitors, and see if that makes any difference.
posted by philipy at 5:29 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Is the not-so-secret-link still going to be emailed out... I just want to know if I'm counted in that thankfully ever increasing number

I got mine about an hour ago.

I'll just note that this site is massively important to me, even though I mostly lurk. Figured this was the least I could do considering I'll have been a MeFite for a decade this November. That's longer than I've been a lot of things.
posted by evisceratordeath at 5:29 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


cortex: I think the main transaction ding in question is usually a flat $0.25-0.30 fee from most vendors, Paypal included; on top of that there's usually a 2-3% proportion.

If you're averaging ~ $6 per transaction, you'll do better switching your PayPal account to the $0.05 + 5% microtransaction option. That's a better deal as long as your average is < $11-$12.50 per transaction (depending on volume), and is particularly cool here because it doesn't ding people who can't contribute a lot.

It sounds like some merchants also use two separate PayPal accounts, connected to two bank accounts, so they can have one in microtransaction mode and one in regular mode. You would then have the form submit to one or the other PayPal account depending which amount was selected. But I don't know if PayPal is cool with that; obviously not worth it if they don't approve.
posted by jhc at 5:32 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


"The problem is Google doesn't have a magic way of determining the actual quality of answers."

Erm, how about human employees? Too old fashioned?
posted by travelwithcats at 5:34 PM on May 22


Nitpick:

Since Matt has indicated (I believe) that he is not going to try to forego ads entirely, perhaps this wording needs tweaking:

This new source of revenue is a step toward being member-supported rather than advertising-supported.

http://faq.metafilter.com/313/I-help-fund-MetaFilter

Like "...a step towards covering the financial shortfall caused by our Evil Overlord the Googles." Or whatever more PC way you want to indicate that.
posted by Michele in California at 5:35 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I know this won't go over well, but if you want to attract more readers, you might want to try a different combination of background and text colors. You know, something more ... professional.

Yeah, that conversation hasn't happened before.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:35 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Maybe people could get over the damn background color? I mean, seriously, that's the most important thing?
posted by Houstonian at 5:40 PM on May 22


The expansion of "professional" away from having anything to do with being good and reliable at your job to meaning "inoffensive to the corporate overlords" is just maddening. If you're discussing a website that isn't related to your job in terms of "professional", you're the problem.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:41 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


I've just updated my profile blurb to read:

As of today, Thursday, May 22nd, in the year of our Matthowie 2014, I have become a paid subscriber of Metafilter.

Metafilter has been my virtual home for just over 8 years now, 5 of these years as a member. It has a been a daily go-to location for insightful and funny posts as well as informed commentary. I feel proud to have participated in this community, even though I have done so quietly. And today, I feel even more proud to have the funding star on my profile.

Vive le Metafilter!

posted by In The Annex at 5:42 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


"Vive le Metafilter!"

I always think of Metafilter as a lady. Am I doing it wrong?
posted by travelwithcats at 5:45 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Depends. How long you lasting?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:48 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Just as a sort of aside, I heard this story on Planet Money about pennies and how it was impossible to spend a penny. At the end of that story they talked about a company that processes micropayments called flattr. The way it works is a user has an account with a certain amount deposited, and instead of favoriting something, you flattr it with a micropayment. I have to admit I wondered how'd that fit with MetaFilter. I myself don't currently use favorites, partly because I have already seen how what's popular can warp how we might think about what is good. But I would use favorites if their use benefited the site rather than just the reputation of the person posting or commenting. I'm sure I haven't thought of all of the implications such a system might have on MetaFilter, but I like to think about digital publishing models, and when I heard about that payment platform, Metafilter was already on my mind, and I hypothetically applied it. It didn't totally suck.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:51 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Just kicked in the extra $$ for y'all hitting 1,000 subscribers. Nice job, everyone!
posted by wallabear at 5:52 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


"Depends. How long you lasting?"

She always says it's too short....
posted by travelwithcats at 5:53 PM on May 22


The Washington Post would like us all to know that we're dinosaurs who haven't evolved with the rest of the internet. People are pointing out the article's inaccuracies in the comments.
posted by zarq at 5:58 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Dinosaurs are awesome. Kids love dinosaurs. Dinosaurs have more lasting popularity than almost anything else ever.
posted by zennie at 6:03 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


I like the "donate your birthday" thing so here's one for Jenny and the Wimp.
posted by mynnsanity at 6:04 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Wow that Washington Post article was like a perfectly crafted troll just for me.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:07 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


As a freeloading old time semi-lurker that never had to pay the $5 signup in the first place, I'm probably well overdue a financial cap doff to Metafilter.

Only too happy to sign a monthly subscription. Thanks for everything guys & gals. Keep on keepin' on.
posted by metaxa at 6:08 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


She always says it's too short….

posted by cjorgensen at 6:09 PM on May 22


I feel horrible about being Too Damn Poor right now. I'll run the numbers in another week or so and see if I can kick in a dollar or two a month. Metafilter is definitely worth it.
posted by cmyk at 6:09 PM on May 22


Is anyone else laughing their ass off at the "Metafilter never evolved" narrative a bunch of folks who don't know Metafilter are weaving into their analysis?

This WaPo genius actually claims Quora is "more usable":

As much as Google is to blame for MetaFilter’s downfall, however, MetaFilter may be responsible, too: It simply hasn’t evolved to keep up with the rest of the Web. The site’s wonky, old-school navigation — not to mention its throwback interface — requires an FAQ section several dozen questions long. Metafilter’s most interesting core functions, like its discussion boards and Q&A feature, have since been cannibalized by more usable sites like Reddit and Quora.

Riiight. Fucking Quora is more usable than AskMe? Does anyone actually agree with that? I'd love to see your argument. And this guy at WebProNews, which I haven't thought about in years but now looks like the very model of a Modern Web Experience, quotes Matt Cutts in a video "talking about established sites not being able to rank forever without evolving."

I'm sure that must seem like a fine narrative for folks on the outside who find themselves suddenly in the position of being paid to have An Opinion about all of this, but none of it fits the actual data. I'm open to the idea that MeFi's lack of images, or the fact that it doesn't look like the rest of THE MODERN WEB [gag, if we're talking about the temporary top reign of clutter at HuffPo, Buzzfeed, etc] might be affecting traffic, but the evidence we have so far doesn't support that analysis. One would expect a gradual decline in memberships over the years as our oh-so-outdated web experience drove visitors away.

That's not what fucking happened.

New member growth was constant. Traffic was...well, look at the first graph in Matt's Medium.com piece. It was declining somewhat from a major spike in 2011, but was still far beyond anything we'd seen before. Then Google fucked us. Even after Google's bullshit categorization of the site as a spamfarm, it bounced back, but couldn't continue against The Algorithm's perfect wisdom.

Bottom line: This was not a site that had been driving people away because of its far-too-ancient design, and the narrative that says otherwise is almost certainly near-complete bullshit.

Google decided MeFi was a spamfarm, and Matt waited too long to address it with the userbase. That's pretty much all you need to know. The outpouring of support from members here so far is amazing, and if MeFi went to a subscription-required model that could bring Jessamyn back I'd be totally happy with that, because it would mean the site would *still* fucking be the best place for discussion on the Web for a decade to come, and the smarter folks at WaPo and WebProNews would find and love it. The folks who've never spent time here before this week but feel qualified to assert that because MeFi doesn't look like all the rest of the garbage sites they read online the design must be a major problem are nothing but laughable. It's grasping at straws to suggest site design was a major factor here (again, I'm willing to consider that it was a minor one).
posted by mediareport at 6:10 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


I suppose I should make my 100th comment one stating I just signed up as a subscriber.

Umm.. can I have my tote bag now?
posted by leviathan3k at 6:12 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I know this won't go over well, but if you want to attract more readers, you might want to try a different combination of background and text colors. You know, something more ... professional.

It's worth recalling that this has been tried. Go to the About page, play the video, and skip to 9:40. (Hint: it did not go well.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:12 PM on May 22


Do you need a Paypal account to set up a recurring donation? (I can't actually do a recurring donation right now, but I'd like to know.)
posted by aroweofshale at 6:29 PM on May 22


"Do you need a Paypal account to set up a recurring donation?"

No, all you need is a CC. There is a PayPal link all the way down on the about.mefi page. Click it. It lets you "Pay with Credit Card or Log In" and has a check box that says "Make This Recurring (Monthly)".
posted by travelwithcats at 6:33 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I feel horrible about being Too Damn Poor right now. I'll run the numbers in another week or so and see if I can kick in a dollar or two a month. Metafilter is definitely worth it.
posted by cmyk at 6:09 PM on May 22 [+] [!]


cmyk, owing to the fact that this has been a shitty week for me personally, and these outpourings of support have been the only thing keeping me from being in tears all day long, I just donated $12 for you. Consider the first year on me.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:34 PM on May 22 [44 favorites]


Ok now that I've got wine... I'd like to second the motion that beagle made above. If we reach 10,000 monthly contributors by the 4th of July I'll toss in an extra $100 donation on top of my monthly. beagle you're in charge of letting me know when it's time.
posted by one4themoment at 6:37 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


MeFi
posted by davidjmcgee at 5:09 PM on May 22 [11 favorites +] [!]


Clicking that link to jump from reading this MeTa thread to reading a MeFi thread on the same topic was incredibly trippy for me.

*insert tape deck rewind noise*
posted by NikitaNikita at 6:38 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


mudpuppie, now I have tears of joy. Thank you.
posted by cmyk at 6:43 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


cmyk, I just donated $24 toward your first year. It came with the odd benefit of being donation number 666. Hope you don't mind.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:49 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Metadonations?
posted by Toekneesan at 6:50 PM on May 22


Let me see if I sell a thing then I will donate half of it. Just for the SICK SEXUAL THRILL.
posted by The Whelk at 6:52 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Hint: it did not go well

I think it didn't go well in terms of ad clicking.

I always suspected that might be because in the classic layout there's a wall of text and some ads that stand out very clearly from that. I could see searchers gravitating to the ads because they're the most noticeable and easiest thing to read on the page, which is otherwise pretty forbidding to the uninitiated.
posted by philipy at 6:52 PM on May 22


Jeez, cmyk, you're really going to have to up your game around here now that you're now a $3/monther.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:52 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Toekneesan, thank you!

Do y'all want more sass or more schmoop?
posted by cmyk at 6:56 PM on May 22


I tend to like a little of both, in good measure.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:57 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Monthly funding average is actually a bit higher! About $6.20 per funder across the total...

I will humbly suggest that the Help Fund MeFi page has too many low cost options. It's great that there are low cost options, and it's great that there is a $1 option. But
•$1 •$2 •$3 •$5 •$10 •20
Do we need $1, $2, and $3? By having half the options under $5, we're not just validating people who give less (which is good) but encouraging them to give less (which is unnecessary and reduces Metafilter revenue).

I'd suggest dropping the $2 option from the listing. People can always fill in that amount if they want to, but this would place $5 smack dab in the middle and wouldn't overweight the low end:
•$1 •$3 •$5 •$10 •20
Just my ¢1 ¢2 ¢3 ¢5 ¢10 ¢20.
posted by alms at 7:00 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


I just subscribed. It seems absurd that I've only (until today) paid $5.00 to use this site. That's like what... $0.00000000000002/hour?
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:01 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Until you've been ridiculously broke it's difficult to imagine just how hard it can be to scrape up a couple of bucks when you just don't have any to spare but such is the case for more than one person in the world. I LOVE the fact that Mathowie recognises this and offers up a way for everyone to help if they can and to not feel bad if they can't.
posted by h00py at 7:05 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


No, all you need is a CC. There is a PayPal link all the way down on the about.mefi page. Click it. It lets you "Pay with Credit Card or Log In" and has a check box that says "Make This Recurring (Monthly)".

While these things are true from a UI standpoint, this didn't work for me (twice) as far as I know (as far as I was able to confirm by talking to a real live PayPal person in the phone), and I ended up with 2 extra one time payments. It wasn't until the new page was set up that I was able to get a recurring payment to take.
posted by juv3nal at 7:06 PM on May 22


I am so fucking happy about this thread that I could just pee the floor...
posted by ersatzkat at 7:09 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I'd suggest dropping the $2 option from the listing. People can always fill in that amount if they want to, but this would place $5 smack dab in the middle and wouldn't overweight the low end

That's a really good point, I think we'll do just that.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:11 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Until you've been ridiculously broke it's hard to imagine just how hard it can be to scrape up a couple of bucks when you just don't have any to spare but such is the case for more than one person in the world.

It's true. There have been times in my life when I picked dimes out of my change jar -- because I was out of quarters, and nickels were too embarrassing -- just to pay for dinner. (Always accompanied with "I'm sorry for all the dimes, my ATM card was stolen" or something like that.)

I think on every single one of those days, I probably also checked in on Metafilter.

I like the $1 a month option. It might have been a stretch for me at times, but at least it would have felt attainable. It's good that it's there.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:11 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


I am so fucking happy about this thread that I could just pee the floor...

I'm happy you're happy but couldn't you, like, just donate $5 or something instead? Thx.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:13 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Everything Mudpuppie said. I can't think of my brokest at the moment, but I do now have a mini m and ms can in every car filled with quarters now that I'm comparatively rich. Juuuust in case.
posted by tilde at 7:18 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Folks, it's 1200 monthlies! That's 10% of daily visitors!
posted by travelwithcats at 7:18 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


I'm happy you're happy but couldn't you, like, just donate $5 or something instead? Thx.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:13 PM on May 22 [+] [!]

Did it yesterday, check the profile!!!
posted by ersatzkat at 7:29 PM on May 22


Did it yesterday, check the profile!!!

Woooooo!!

(and when I re-read my comment if it comes across like I was saying that people should put their money where there mouth is or something jerky like that, I'm sorry, I was just meaning to kid around about how I'd rather people do almost anything else with their excitement than pee on the floor).
posted by MoonOrb at 7:32 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


No worries, I bring my own mop. I'm what you call a 'self-rescuing princess'....
posted by ersatzkat at 7:34 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


I was going to blow this off, but then I remembered the words of a former housemate of mine,

"Man I don't know what that blue website is, but you spend more time on that than you do on medical school."

So, uh, now have my money and avoid being my patient.
posted by The White Hat at 7:35 PM on May 22 [44 favorites]


One thing I've learned in the recent excitement is how Ask-MeFi is the financial engine of the whole site.

I think if this was emphasized more, it would encourage more people to check in and answer questions. In a sense, every time you answer a question on the Green, you're making a donation.
posted by cacofonie at 7:42 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


One thing I've learned in the recent excitement is how Ask-MeFi is the financial engine of the whole site.

I've always been curious about the financial model of Angie's List. They're obviously making money -- they spend some decent money on advertising, so they must be making money to spend. But I have never, ever felt compelled to pay them for a recommendation for a plumber or whatever when word-of-mouth, or even Yelp, is free. Even having a house to take care of now, I wouldn't pay them for other people's recommendations.

My point, I guess, is that AskMetafilter is so much more diverse and useful (to me), and IS there any way in which it can be monetized, without sacrificing its quality?

Dunno. Anyway.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:47 PM on May 22


+1 for non-PayPal recurring payment options, please. I can live with a monthly foreign currency transaction fee, but I don't trust them with my credit card at all.
posted by cmonkey at 7:57 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


aroweofshale and juv3nal, if you have a bank account, you may be able to set up recurring billpay online through your bank or credit union. Basically, they send a check through the mail for you. For free! No fees on either end!

At least, that's how billpay works at my credit union: I tested it once by sending myself a one-cent bill pay, and I got a check for a penny in the mail!
posted by aniola at 8:03 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


They don't even charge me for the stamp!
posted by aniola at 8:04 PM on May 22


From the WaPo link:
MetaFilter came from two or three internets ago, when a website’s core audience—people showing up there every day or every week, directly—was its main source of visitors.
I come from way before two or three internets ago. I show up here almost everyday. And most amazingly, for the webs, there's a percentage of the userbase begging to donate. It's not a downfall, it's an upkeep.

Caitlan, Caitlan. Just because you've had the internet your whole adult life doesn't not mean you understand it better than those of us who had an adult life before the internet.
posted by Kerasia at 8:09 PM on May 22 [29 favorites]


I hope you use my subscription money for fancy shoes, and I hope you use Ask Metafilter for fancy shoe-buying advice, because I certainly do.
posted by Gable Oak at 8:11 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


can we make more money if I start all my posts with This Is Medical Advice: ?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:11 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


From the Washington Post link: In an effort to “cover server and hosting costs, and to pay for moderation staff and site maintenance and development,” the site is accepting donations. Only 1,564 people have donated. That is, for better or worse, the way we Internet now.

ONLY? Seriously? Seeing that number almost makes me cry with joy. I clearly am from two or three internets ago, I guess.
posted by liquorice at 8:25 PM on May 22 [16 favorites]


Remember when we had our 10th anniversary, and Matt bought (at least the) first round... worldwide...?

That is all.
posted by Houstonian at 8:33 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: two or three internets ago.
posted by alms at 8:37 PM on May 22


So since the last update about 4.5 hrs ago we got:
- 132 new subscribers
- 61 new one-time contributions

=> 193 cool mefites!
posted by travelwithcats at 8:41 PM on May 22


Now it was three internets ago, THREE INTERNETS AGO
when Mathowie got the idea of settin' up a community blog.
He had this whole closet he wasn't using
and he figured, well, he could keep quite a lot of internet in there for quite some time.
But by the time we all come along, all of me and all of you, all of all of us,
That closet was getting pretty full with all the RTFA and the GYOFB and everythin' else we put in it.
He thought maybe it'd be time to clear all the Internet out of that closet, put it somewhere nice.
Now what he told us then, while he was doin' that, was that Metafilter needed a massage.
I still think this is some kind of code, because -
between you and me -
Metafilter needed an awful lot of massages those early years!
I mean, I'm just, I mean I'm just saying. You don't have to take my word for it.


(with love to Arlo and cortex)
posted by cmyk at 8:53 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Happy Dave: "The number of subscribers was briefly 1024. I grinned. A megabyte of Mefites."

Did we ever determine what the proper collective noun is for a group of MeFites? A plate of MeFites, perhaps?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:10 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Did we ever determine what the proper collective noun is for a group of MeFites? A plate of MeFites, perhaps?

A Metaillion
A murder of Mefites
A beanery
A taterie
A longboat
A cabal
A well-gift
A NoBoyZonery
A CHUCKEE CHEESERY!!! I just threw that in because I'm hungry and lazy
A nerdery
A geekery
An eloquentary
A scody
A {\}
posted by mudpuppie at 9:24 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


A snark of MeFites? I kid. I like plate of Mefites.
posted by stp123 at 9:26 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Re: the sidebar -- you should have it show "PersonYouFollow just donated!" In case they don't read MeTa, not to apply peer pressure or anything.
posted by cgk at 9:34 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Mefite: singular, an underthink. Indefinite article.
Mefites: plural, an overthink. Definite SLNYT. see esp. Style section.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:35 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


also, hey yeah, I will be the first, it seems to admit that i've gone through my contacts and checked whether they've emblazoned themselves with stars (upon thars profiles). For those that don't, I do have a wee bit of a question as to why not. Mostly, I'm just assuming modesty... not necessarily tight fistedness, yet.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:41 PM on May 22


also, hey yeah, I will be the first, it seems to admit that i've gone through my contacts and checked whether they've emblazoned themselves with stars (upon thars profiles). For those that don't, I do have a wee bit of a question as to why not. Mostly, I'm just assuming modesty... not necessarily tight fistedness, yet.

I hope you're joking around because this is kind of awful.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:45 PM on May 22 [23 favorites]



Did we ever determine what the proper collective noun is for a group of MeFites? A plate of MeFites, perhaps?

no because no one who has met more than a small group of them have lived to describe it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:45 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Hah so this was asked once before, and the OP's very first suggestion was also a plate of MeFites! Perhaps I saw this thread (though I don't specifically recall it), or perhaps, like the Septuagint, the term just springs naturally from the divine.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:05 PM on May 22


I once met up with like 20 Mefites and we are all dead now and definitely didn't take a Last Supper photograph with ColdChef as Jesus.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:06 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Woo! I'm the 630th person to contribute monthly! Another Canadian here who couldn't contribute monthly using the old method. Took a little while to post this because I wanted to read every comment in this thread before doing so.

It's amazing to see this outpouring of support, though from the beginning of the first thread, I had a feeling this kind of thing would happen.

MetaFilter has been my home on the internet for so long, even long before I was a member. It hasn't changed much since then, it's true. Kinda like cast iron pans haven't changed much in hundreds of years. Google should find a way to make those irrelevant so I can all enjoy buying a new non-stick pan every year once I ingest enough PTFE to make it non-non-stick.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:15 PM on May 22


another 49 till we hit 2000 contributors!

I made a one-off donation, but if I added a recurring donation would that fuck up the numbers some?
posted by divabat at 10:44 PM on May 22


no because no one who has met more than a small group of them have lived to describe it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:45 PM on May 22


The Whelk, that's like the turtle they couldn't classify because it was so delicious none ever made it back to the classifying office in London.
posted by Carillon at 10:45 PM on May 22


I've been saving this money for a divorce if ever I get a husband.
posted by stennieville at 10:48 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


I saw the opportunity since the one-time donation counter was briefly stalled at 699, to become #700 on that side, in addition to my recurring monthly stipend.

I donated $20, same as in town.
posted by pjern at 11:01 PM on May 22


I'll also add that I mostly lurk and occasionally post, but this is one of the best sites on the Internet for me. I'm proud to donate and I hope that Metafilter can continue to be a place for intelligent and thoughtful conversation on the web.
posted by fremen at 11:06 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I spend more time on Metafilter than any other non-social networking site, so - take my money!
posted by crossoverman at 11:53 PM on May 22


Hey MacArthur-people, over here!!
posted by Petersondub at 12:25 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I don't use Paypal and want my CC to get charged monthly instead -- is that possible? Where the subscription form says "credit or debit information," can I just put in my regular CC info, or does that CC have to be tied to a Paypal account somehow?
posted by rue72 at 12:44 AM on May 23


Hey MacArthur-people, over here!!

Bit of a puzzle to me why that hasn't happened yet; Matt seems a pretty good prospect to be a candidate - someone with a proven track record at doing things beneficial to society, yet with plenty of potential for doing more, if only the resources were in place.

But it's pretty clear that there's no way to push such an agenda. From their FAQ:

"So that we can expand our search for creative people as widely as possible while keeping the number of nominations manageable, we limit our consideration only to those who have been nominated by someone from our constantly changing pool of invited external nominators. Applications or unsolicited nominations are not accepted"
posted by woodblock100 at 12:55 AM on May 23


rue72, I believe it's all PayPal-related at this point, though Matt is working on rolling out other options, and can answer about direct CC payments in the morning, US time.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:01 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


75% of my Facebook feed consists of people kickstarting or fundraising something I couldn’t care less about, so I find it charming that even in times of financial distress MeFi didn’t even think to ask for donations, which makes me all the more glad to support it.
posted by scottjlowe at 1:50 AM on May 23 [11 favorites]


Ooh! We could give the 1000th subscriber the 100000th user number! I mean... It never got used, after all.


Oi! That's Jamaro's and she can do nothing with it as long as she wants!
posted by goshling at 3:07 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Where the subscription form says "credit or debit information," can I just put in my regular CC info

Yep. You don't need an account. Fill in your info and tick the box that says make this recurring, should you want to do that.
posted by Solomon at 3:09 AM on May 23


I made a one-off donation, but if I added a recurring donation would that fuck up the numbers some?

I did both and I think they are different things. I see the recurring donation as a hard pledge, as a minimum that Matt can count on as he works out his books. The one-off is more variable. It is something not only to add to this month but every month or every few months depending on if you are feeling especially flush or generous at that moment. That is, it is my hope that the one-offs keep coming.
posted by vacapinta at 3:21 AM on May 23


I'd like to correct myself on this comment. The quote I posted was not by the WaPo journalist, Cailtlan Dewey, but was a quote she took from John Herman's article in The Awl. Sorry for being wrong on the internet.
posted by Kerasia at 3:42 AM on May 23


Another milestone! We've passed 2000!

1284 Subscribers
717 Contributors
------
2001
posted by vacapinta at 3:59 AM on May 23 [13 favorites]


I did both as well. The first was a "Holy crap this can't happen!" reaction, then the subscription was after seeing what others were doing.
posted by pearlybob at 4:17 AM on May 23


I've been here on MeFi for 14 years now, since Matt wrote a FPP about a goofy web page I used to run. I gave a one-time donation a day or two ago, but you know, I had to subscribe now, too.

I wish I could give more. But my post-divorce financial situation is precarious.
AskMe helped me through the darkest moments of my life (I used anon and a sockpuppet for that, though) when the divorce situation began and I am so grateful for all of you who answered me when I was panicking and sobbing. (And so grateful that no one accused me of threadsitting for my interactions in the thread. People were kind at a time when I really needed it.) So if the site was just the green, I would feel the need to subscribe.

But of course, it's so much more than that. And I hope someday I am in a position to give what the site deserves.

Just, for God's sake, never switch to a threaded interface, OK? (And people who find MeFi ugly while they extol the virtues of Reddit are obviously smoking crack. )
posted by litlnemo at 4:39 AM on May 23 [21 favorites]



I first discovered Mefi around Sept 11, 2001. At the time I was searching for info about what was going on and it quickly became my go to everyday site. I lurked for a few years before eventually paying my five dollars. At some point I took a general break from doing much on the internet because I was spending way to much time on way to many sites. Metafilter was pretty much the only site I came back to using. I lost my first user info and access to the email I had used to register was long gone so instead of fussing around trying to figure it out I just paid again.

Since then there is barely a day that has gone by that I haven't checked in here. I realize that it really has become my internet home. I don't comment tons but it is one place where I have no qualms in doing so because it feels safe and the community just rocks.

I've subscribed. I wish it could be more. There's a small chance that I may be getting a major upgrade in both job and pay at work. Here's hoping it works out for me of course but also because I could more easily give more to things and places I find valuable.
posted by Jalliah at 5:06 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Is the email going to Mefi mail or listed contact email?
posted by jadepearl at 5:19 AM on May 23


I've totally subscribed. This site and its zen-like consistency have been home for longer than anywhere I've physically lived and you internet strangers are all very dear to me. Much affection to the mods movin' on. We'll keep the home favourites burning.
posted by freya_lamb at 5:29 AM on May 23


I don't believe in the email anymore. :P
posted by one4themoment at 5:33 AM on May 23


Just curious, how does BoingBoing support itself? Ads, right? Does it get 10x the users as we do?"

We're mostly supported by advertising, with merch and a soupçon of amazon affiliate revenue. I'd guess we're in a similar ballpark visitor-wise to MeFi, but certainly not larger.
posted by beschizza at 5:50 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


one4themoment, I'm not sure what's happening with that, but see Matt's comment about getting the supporter star by going to a site url.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:09 AM on May 23


Yeah I saw Matt's comment and referenced it in my original question about the email. Which is why I don't believe in the email. There is no email! I've never paid this much for a non existent email in my entire life!

(I really don't care about the email I think it's funny) (*HUGS*)
posted by one4themoment at 6:23 AM on May 23


Ssssh! The emails are just sitting in a bank gathering interest while we misdirect and delay. MWAHAHAH!
posted by taz (staff) at 6:39 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


soon we'll be...[sunglasses]...mailionaires
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:39 AM on May 23 [34 favorites]


I love this site.

I just wanted to say that.
posted by GatorDavid at 7:01 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I applied to 30 graduate programs before I received a funded offer.

I used AskMe to help clarify a question I had, and I used that info in my statement of purpose.

I also received valuable feedback and advice from other mefites, none of whom I ever met in person.

I got into my dream program in February. Thanks Metafilter.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:01 AM on May 23 [24 favorites]


I used AskMe to help clarify a question I had, and I used that info in my statement of purpose.

I really hope it was this one.
posted by Etrigan at 7:08 AM on May 23 [14 favorites]


I realised I have lurked here for a decade. In that period I've wanted to sign up several times but was always so impressed by the high level of contributions that I figured I didn't have much to add. I now realised I do - I can help pay for the site that has been my first visit of the day for years and support the community of which I have felt myself vicariously a member for most of my adult life.

THANK YOU, metafilter! Paying the membership fee today was a privilege. Now I just need to steel myself to dive into the discussion after years of spectating!
posted by Binglesplodge at 7:16 AM on May 23 [17 favorites]


Right there, tangible outcomes, folks.
posted by travelwithcats at 7:19 AM on May 23


I just signed up; easiest decision I've ever had to make about handing over money.

I've posted under other sockpuppets for help regarding relationships, anxiety, and depression. I've asked for career advice. And I've lurked and soaked up conversations like a sponge. I can't count the number of times Metafilter has made me laugh, made me rethink a position, or made me feel safe and supported in an online world where women are often treated with contempt. Metafilter helped steer me through my twenties.

Thank you.
posted by rhythm and booze at 7:23 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


Binglesplodge I feel your pain. I always feel awkward every time I type into this little box I'm typing in right now. Which is why I do it so rarely. Or at least, I think I do it rarely. It's possible I do it way too much and there's some secret metatalk thread where everyone is saying bad things about me... You guys would tell me if there was some secret metatalk thread right?
posted by one4themoment at 7:26 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


... right?
posted by one4themoment at 7:27 AM on May 23


So roughly, there has been a donation every three minutes since the initial post went up.
posted by edgeways at 7:30 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


You... um... might want to stay out of Chat, one4themoment.
posted by Etrigan at 7:30 AM on May 23


I rarely make it over here anymore but ponying up was a complete no-brainer. I've been a member since (holy crap) January, 2001 and the amount of value I've leeched out of this place vastly outweighs what I've put into it, so it feels good to be able to give back.
posted by theNonsuch at 7:32 AM on May 23


Just out of curiosity: any idea how many longtime lurkers this has brought out of the woodwork?

(And unlike OTHER things that hide in the woodwork, you guys --- and your $5! --- are very welcome!)
posted by easily confused at 7:33 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Not sure but I counted at least a dozen vocal ones across the 3 big posts (State of MF, Help Fund MF & Mother of All Self Links).
There are likely many more new users, who in true lurker spirit, keep on lurking. Would be nice to see an update on new members from the mods.
posted by travelwithcats at 7:37 AM on May 23


Oh my God, there is ANOTHER picture of Matt as Mao.

I'm not sure why I find these so hilarious, but I certainly do.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:47 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


(21 May 2014)
ORIGINAL POST: already 230 people have signed up to support MetaFilter ... in a perfect world, if that number was in the several thousands ... but in a realistic world, I think it'd be great to get towards 1,000 monthly supporters ...

(That same day)
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: REALISTIC WORLD.

(Coming soon)
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: PERFECT WORLD.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:53 AM on May 23 [26 favorites]


I am subscriber 1337 :)
posted by pixie at 7:59 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


Tell yeah what.

I didn't do monthly because 1) I hate that, 2) I dislike giving PayPal that much access to my money, and 3) It let me give my user number in cents, which is META! I did set an alert for next year to do it again, which is META as well. META: DOES A WEBSITE GOOD.

But I'll lay down a challenge.

Right now (where now=0948 US-CDT 23-May-2014) there are 2075 supporters.

If that's 3000 by the end of May, defined as 2359 US-PDT 31-May-2014, I'l give my user number in cents again ($126.84)

If that's 5000? I'll give my user number in dimes. ($1,268.40)

Here's your chance to MAKE ERIKO PAY!!! BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHahahackcoughwheeze.
posted by eriko at 8:03 AM on May 23 [36 favorites]


my god what I have done? I should really lay off the pringles at 4AM…

Kidding. I can afford it, I wouldn't have done it if I couldn't.

lolbutts
posted by eriko at 8:07 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Got paid so was finally able to chip in my £6.13* monthly subscription. Cheap at the price given how much I love this place. Considering how gutted I was to see the announcement it's been really heartwarming to see everyone pull together to Do This Thing, and all the related threads have been a joy to read. I love you guys!

*that's $10 in Colony monies
posted by billiebee at 8:13 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


vacapinta: By "fuck up the numbers" I mean more would I be counted as 2 supporters instead of 1.
posted by divabat at 8:14 AM on May 23


Man. Sometimes the world doesn't suck
posted by angrycat at 8:14 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


This WaPo genius

She's writing for the online arm of an institution that has, at times, had over 10 different metrics scripts opening for any given article. Their navigation and presentation for their online-only information even now poorly integrated into main pages. Their twitter accounts are scattershot and overlapping and rarely coordinated.

Doing It Wrong advice from anyone inside that institution is useful only for ironic laughter.
posted by phearlez at 8:20 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


So I did a regression as to have a (extrapolative) guess as to how many people will eventually sign up. Sigmoidal fitting doesn't give a good fit, and we may have too few points of data. If you have a better idea than what I did (which was go through the thread quickly and write down the minutes since the first commenter who posted the total number of people who donated), then you should tell me or something. It's got the figure in there so you don't have to run the regression yourself. I did this in 15 minutes, so you should also tell me if you find any problems

https://github.com/howonlee/mefi_donation_data
posted by curuinor at 8:32 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Eh, what's a little artificial unique headcount inflation or deflation or conflation if all our haypennies are counted and collected the same?

I'm quite sure from the few offliners I share this space with that not all folks donating, either electronically or via rube goldberg methods, will remember or intend to provide a straight arrow pointing from pile (or recurring pile) o' pence to their commenting mains.

Maybe some will send money and NEVER REGISTER just to freak the record keepers out. After all, some of the donations are coming from inside the site!
posted by tilde at 8:45 AM on May 23


OK, eriko, I'm already in for $20/month, but I just tossed another $100 contribution on the pile.

I hope everyone else spots this challenge at the bottom of this mondo thread and joins me in making sure we get eriko to cough up his penny/user number and dime/usernumber pledges.
posted by bearwife at 9:01 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


This is the old internet but I don't see a schfifty five radio button? What am I doing wrong?
posted by Carillon at 9:04 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


What started out as the Shittiest Week Ever (My step-daughter ran away from a treatment center again, within a couple hours of Matt's layoff post) has slowly come around for a pretty strong finish. Kiddo's going back & trying again... (I'm like a dog -- I always have hope) and you guys have all really stepped up and made a wonderful thing happen here. Plus, it's Memorial day weekend, and at 5 PM I'm hitting the city limits for a 3-day caving trip, with the new Big Flash. I feel almost restored, and once I'm out of doors and in of holes, everything will be fine for a little while. I'll see you fine folks next week with a bunch of new pics for flickr and maybe a war story or two.

Fuck it dude, let's go caving.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:09 AM on May 23 [11 favorites]


I have no problem with chucking more cash in Matt´s direction. I have done so before, but that was before Paypal became unacceptable.
Is there any other way for a non US resident to pay ie amazon or similar?
Also this status ranking of people who pay vs. those who don´t or can´t is not really something I want to see here.
posted by adamvasco at 9:10 AM on May 23


I had been holding out for a non-Paypal internet option, but now that eriko's thrown down the gauntlet...
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:11 AM on May 23


I guess I'm not really seeing a status ranking happening? People are proud to state how much they donate so karma to them, but it's not like anyone is judging the people who don't. Plus the threads on the blue seem to be going fine.
posted by Think_Long at 9:14 AM on May 23


I had to set up an Amazon merchant's account for a Kickstarter campaign, and it wasn't that hard. Maybe that's an option for the Paypal haterz. (I totally got why you hate -- I do too but am to fatalistic about things like that, maybe)
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:15 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that at least 50% of everything I know about the world has come from Metafilter. You can't put a price on that.
posted by the jam at 9:18 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Also this status ranking of people who pay vs. those who don´t or can´t is not really something I want to see here.

I think people are mostly just feeling enthusiastic/cathartic about the outpouring of support and kind of running with it as a keep-the-ball-rolling thing. I know everybody has a little bit different of a perspective on such stuff but I wouldn't read too much into some cheerleading and joking in this thread.

To be clear, we don't plan to do anything to formalize any meaningful/functional sort of gave-vs-didn't thing on the site; the profile page star is the grand total of what we have in mind, and we included the preference to disable it for those who aren't comfortable with it.

I am floored by the collective generosity we've seen from mefites and lurkers/readers here, but that's partly because no matter what else happens I have never thought of and will never think of Metafilter as a place where people should feel obligated to pay or shamed for not being able to do so. Those who want to give and can afford to, thank you. Those who can't but just love this place, thank you too. The money is heartening and helpful, but the people here are what this place is about and why it's even worth fundraising in the first place.

And if I catch anybody actually being a dick to someone about not throwing money at the site, I'll whack them hard with a rolled up printout of the Suck.com archives.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:18 AM on May 23 [62 favorites]


Thank you, cortex.
posted by zarq at 9:20 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I think anyone who dares call out anyone else for not being a funder based on what's shown on a status is more likely to look like a wanker than than the perceived non-funder. Subscribing or donating is case-by-case, not compulsory, and that is such a part of how Metafilter has always been. It makes me very fucking happy, actually.
posted by h00py at 9:20 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


Oh cortex, two minutes less staring at my own words and we woulda had a jinx.
posted by h00py at 9:22 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


And if I catch anybody actually being a dick to someone about not throwing money at the site, I'll whack them hard with a rolled up printout of the Suck.com archives.

And he will set the printed font to comic sans, he is totally not kidding around. That horrible capital S might be the last thing you ever see. What a way to go!
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:24 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


To be clear, we don't plan to do anything to formalize any meaningful/functional sort of gave-vs-didn't thing on the site; the profile page star is the grand total of what we have in mind, and we included the preference to disable it for those who aren't comfortable with it.

In an ideal world (ie: one that spins entirely in accord with my notions and desires), you'd have to go your profile to activate the star, but then that world would probably also have nothing but rotary telephones, so what do I know?
posted by philip-random at 9:25 AM on May 23


None of this star-bellied profile sneetching.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:27 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Also this status ranking of people who pay vs. those who don´t or can´t is not really something I want to see here.

What I really like about how we're doing the star is that it does serve to keep the momentum going, but there are absolutely no grounds for giving anyone a hard time for not giving (if, say, someone wanted to be a jerk), because you really don't know if that was the case. It can be turned off (with no stigma), someone might have sent in a check, etc... It's pretty much the best way to do this, I think, in a "mind your own business" way.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:34 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Minor bug report: I received the "early adopter" email at my work email last night ("You were one of the lucky early contributors that figured out how to cobble together a donation via PayPal...") but I wasn't entitled to it. I donated through the official fundraising/contributing/support page linked at the top of this thread.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:39 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


This morning, before I looked at email or Twitter or anything else, I checked the donation page to see what the current numbers were.
posted by jeri at 9:42 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Even someone who sent a check, or who just wants to (putting it generously) pretend to've done, could have a star too using the link Matt posted above. It's really nothing but a tiny gesture from the staff that they're officially recognizing the community's desire to help fund the site.
posted by gilrain at 9:43 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


2,112 (1,366 + 746)!!!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:44 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I like "readers" in the microbanner.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:51 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I activated my star because it gives me a warm fuzzy, but I don't mean it as a brag or for shaming. It's like, at a mefi bar meetup I have to get food because I am too much of a lightweight to drink on an empty stomach. But I don't expect anyone to pay me back for sharing my order of fries - I wouldn't have ordered it if I didn't have the cash for it and I wouldn't have shared it if I could have finished it all myself. So, I've subscribed because I love Mefi and want it to continue for as long as possible, but, it's not like I'm buying something for myself alone, so all I'm really saying with the star in my profile is "Do you want some of these fries?"
posted by oh yeah! at 9:54 AM on May 23 [26 favorites]


2,112 (1,366 + 746)!!!

We have assumed control...we have assumed control...we have assumed control...
posted by evisceratordeath at 9:55 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Wow... there really is an email Curious Artificer? So... taz and cortex really are just hoarding mine? I thought we were all joking around...
posted by one4themoment at 10:00 AM on May 23


Yes; I can confirm there is an email.
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:01 AM on May 23


Is the email going to Mefi mail or listed contact email?

Mine went to the email associated with my PayPal account.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:05 AM on May 23


Google decided MeFi was a spamfarm, and Matt waited too long to address it with the userbase. That's pretty much all you need to know.

Yeah, I don't think that's what happened. Matt said it was April's additional downslide in adsense income that put them from break even to crisis mode. I have an adsense account. He should be getting that lessened payment late this month (about now or in the next few days, I believe) and that is likely his June budget. So he spoke up in a timely fashion. Had he come to us a year ago and said "Gee, guys, I am not rolling in dough. I am ONLY BREAKING EVEN. Can we do a fundraiser?" that likely would not have been met with the kind of support you are seeing here.

Matt acted in a very timely fashion. And is handling the situation extraordinarily well. I have seen other forum owners completely botch things like this and piss in the faces of the members trying to say "Shut up and take our money." I am so glad he is NOT doing that. (I wrote about that, if you care about my 2 cents.)

As for my earlier nitpick, here is a less tongue in cheek suggestion on wording of the http://faq.metafilter.com/313/I-help-fund-MetaFilter page:

"...a step towards diversifying our monetization strategy in order to provide resilience in the face of the inevitable vagaries in online ad money."

That might not be perfect but I think it's a lot better.

I lived in Richland Washington at one time. It was a town of maybe 3000 when the federal government decided to build a nuclear plant there. It swelled in a relatively short time to around 50k population. Every time Hanford (the nuclear plant) had federal budget cuts, it caused a local recession. Then the federal government would ramp up funding and the town would go from bust to boomtown -- again. When I lived there, the local Chamber of Commerce was trying to diversify the economy so Richland would be less heavily impacted by the vagaries of federal budgeting decisions. Hanford made the town what it was and remained central to the economy. They just wanted to buffer the impact and be more resilient.

Same thing as with MetaFilter and Google. So adsense paid most of the bills for a long time and allowed the site to flourish. Now, overdependence on that money has made Metafilter vulnerable and it has come back to bite the site. There is no reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater. There is no reason to get rid of ads or even of adsense. But there is very good reason to diversify the monetization strategy.
posted by Michele in California at 10:07 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Is anyone compiling these offers to pledge/donate an additional amount (e.g. the people pledging to donate their user number in whatever denomination) once various fundraising milestones are reached?

I think if they were compiled and ordered (from closest milestone to farthest) on the Help Fund MetaFilter page that might motivate people to donate more / donate sooner once we get close to a milestone that will trigger an additional donation.

Might also inspire more people to make additional conditional pledges as well.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:11 AM on May 23


Oooh, I just noticed the new top-of-the-site mini-banner. The number jumped up by 4 as I was clicking my way across the subsites!! :D
posted by Jacqueline at 10:13 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


My most favorited post of all time was this AskMe question, of which this was the most favorited comment, which I also marked as Best Answer.

I just changed my $5 one-time registration into a monthly subscription, which is now the Best Answer.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:19 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Oooh, I just noticed the new top-of-the-site mini-banner.

Ooh, that's so cool !!!!

Thanks for pointing that out Jacqueline !!
posted by marsha56 at 10:22 AM on May 23


It jumped another 7 in the past 10 minutes!

I <3 u, top-of-the-site mini banner. (Now I can stop compulsively refreshing the donation page.)
posted by Jacqueline at 10:24 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I accidentally clicked "hide" on the banner earlier today before the new one showed up. Is there a way to get it back?
posted by flod logic at 10:32 AM on May 23


flod logic, the simplest way is to log out and back in.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:36 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


2135.
posted by swift at 10:46 AM on May 23


I activated my star because I want to support Matt and MeFi.

Not to brag. That would be... distasteful. Ugh.

I have no idea how often people click on profiles, but I'm guessing it can't be too often. But if they do, maybe someone will click on the link to donate.

I'm hoping that the extra income will allow Matt to reverse the pay cuts the staff had to take last year, and maybe bring back gnfti and lm if they want, but getting the site's finances back on an even keel would be a nice accomplishment.
posted by zarq at 11:06 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


You know, the star does not say how much you contributed, just that you did. It does not say whether you gave once or are giving monthly. It does not say whether you are giving $1/month or gave a one time gift of $100 or whatever.

The star is in the profile, not next to the user name in comments.

I am about as prissy as you can get when it comes to sensitivity to fucked up pecking order crap in forums. I think this is perfectly fine. I have no issue with it. None.
posted by Michele in California at 11:14 AM on May 23 [13 favorites]


2143

Just throwing out an idea: Subscribers get a quarterly "State of the Filter" email laying out how things have been going, whether traffic is up/down, mefi is in the red or black, comments made vs. comments deleted, matters of internal discipline e.g. Cortex written up for calling in sick and later being spotted busking near donut shop, etc. Just a little bit of inside information in report form for people ponying up.

I'd be interested in, though certainly not entitled to this information. It's the only perk I can really think of wanting from mefi aside from its existence.
posted by pseudonick at 11:14 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


I attempted to set up a recurring donation a few days ago (via paypal via the old donation link, not with my paypal account but using the email address associated with my paypal account, although that's not the same address as associated with my mefi account)... and I didn't get an email. Did I do something goofy? Do I need to do something?
posted by nat at 11:15 AM on May 23


No nat, you don't need to do anything. You could check your spam folder to see if the email ended up there. You could also check the email receipt you received from PayPal to get the transaction details.

The email basically said thank you for going out of your way to donate and if you'd like the "I help fund MetaFilter" message on on your profile, visit the link Matt mentioned upthread.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:19 AM on May 23


Nice job on the banner with the donor numbers. Now... make it BIGGER - maybe a similar font size to the MeFi logo on the top left of the page. Get the message out that yes, you too can save the 'Filter, and you can do it NOW. Anyone who minds can use the hide function. I'd leave it up there just to watch the numbers grow.
posted by hangashore at 11:25 AM on May 23


I already checked the spam folder. Mostly I just want to make sure PayPal is actually paying you people; the recurring setup isn't visible in my account there.

So, I guess, Yay for having a nonpaypal option (I'll definitely go with that if/when it gets arranged).
posted by nat at 11:26 AM on May 23


2150!
posted by scody at 11:26 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I wonder if it would make more sense to have the link in the banner go directly to the contribution page, rather than the explanatory blog post. That would reduce by one the number of clicks necessary to make a donation, and might increase giving. And the blog post could be linked instead on the contribution page.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:40 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Now... make it BIGGER - maybe a similar font size to the MeFi logo on the top left of the page

PUT IT IN COMIC SANS.

Because moderator abuse is cool
posted by eriko at 11:44 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Well I wasn't going to bother with registering that I funded before the counts started but it seems like a lot of people care about the total count. So who am I to stand in the way of numerical gratification? I do it for you, scody.
posted by phearlez at 11:51 AM on May 23


Mods work for us now. They will write in whatever font we god damn well please.

sorry, but it's going to take awhile for me get tired of making these "customer is always right" jokes.
posted by Think_Long at 11:52 AM on May 23


Woo! Very thilling to see the numbers grow. Metafilter, you are beloved.
posted by but no cigar at 11:53 AM on May 23


We're closing in fast on $10,000/mo (assuming the average of $6.20/mo keeps up). We've pushed well past $8,700.

Just out of interest, what was the number that you guys assumed on the back of your napkins?
posted by Talez at 11:59 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I think if they were compiled and ordered (from closest milestone to farthest) on the Help Fund MetaFilter page that might motivate people to donate more / donate sooner once we get close to a milestone that will trigger an additional donation.

Matches and challenges and stuff are cool, but I don't think can be unilaterally transplanted from a comment thread (where they're easily forgotten) to the funding page. But if the mods were open to semi-official challenge offers that are explicitly requested to appear on the funding page, it seems like a good thing to support.

As a compromise, a less-official way would be a page on the wiki. Again, I think people should have to explicitly opt in by putting their own offers on there, though.
posted by jhc at 12:02 PM on May 23


Now... make it BIGGER

PUT IT IN COMIC SANS.

Hell, let's go all the way: make it BLINK!

jk
posted by hapax_legomenon at 12:15 PM on May 23


What percentage does paypal & the credit card companies keep? Is every $5 donation actually only $2?
posted by small_ruminant at 12:18 PM on May 23


Just to make a point: I have acquired my own star in my profile. And I am homeless.

So, you know, please, kindly, stfu about the completely OPTIONAL profile star. Thank you.
posted by Michele in California at 12:20 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


Using cortex's average:

cortex: "Monthly funding average is actually a bit higher! About $6.20 per funder across the total, though we've seen a range of stuff above and below that obviously"

Back-of-the-envelope math suggests that we may be up to around $8500 a month in continuing donations.

PLEASE NOTE HEDGING WORDS IN BOLD, ALSO I HAVE NO CONNECTION TO METAFILTER OTHER THAN BEING A MEFITE, AND HAVE NO SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE UNLESS YOU WANT TO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT PARAMEDICINE, ADD, AND/OR SMALL CHILDREN.
posted by scrump at 12:35 PM on May 23


Can we ironically re-create the Jimmy Wales banner, taking up half the front page?
posted by ctmf at 12:36 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


And I am homeless.

This bothers me. Although a few folks have lost their jobs, I really don't think we should take money from those who are homeless and give it to those who drive BMWs. Yes, we love this website... but this is wrong.
posted by Houstonian at 12:48 PM on May 23


IIRC, Michelle is permacamping for health reasons, not sleeping on the streets.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:50 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


(Not that the former isn't still worrisome, but it's not as dire as the latter.)
posted by Jacqueline at 12:51 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


The one thing that always stood out for me when I was doing fieldwork among the lower income demographic in the developing world is how generous they are with their time and money among the their social network. Community is insurance, where there are no state sanctioned safety nets (or other social support services).

perhaps for the person who is homeless, Metafilter's community value is greater than we can understand.

I understand where you are coming from Houstonian but I suspect in this case, it might just be all right.
posted by infini at 12:53 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


I really don't think we should take money from those who are homeless and give it to those who drive BMWs.

There are a lot of things that are complex about a somewhat decentralized opaque-ish fund drive such as this one, but MiC is a grown up lady who can make her own decisions about what she does with her money. While I'm a firm believer in making sure that there is accountability with community money (and may be a pill about this further on down the line) it gets very complicated when we start talking about who "needs" money more, etc. People make the choices they want to make and every single MeFite is absolutely free not to donate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:54 PM on May 23 [34 favorites]


I really don't think we should take money from those who are homeless and give it to those who drive BMWs.

Wait, what? There is no "we" who "took money" from anyone; everyone here has given of their own free will, including Michele, who is a valuable member and has long been clear about how crucial MetaFilter has been to her for as long as she's been here. (And beyond that, whatever vehicle any of the mods drive or don't drive is totally immaterial.)
posted by scody at 12:58 PM on May 23 [25 favorites]


Houstonion, perhaps some other time we can have a long damn talk about how deeply offended I am that you are viewing me solely in classist terms. But I have better things to do right now and, besides, people mostly refuse to believe that I honest to god do have cystic fibrosis and I honest to god have figured out how to get myself well. My oldest son also has the same condition. It is supposed to cost like an average of $100k/year per patient for the medical expenses alone. So that's around $200k/year (of mostly tax payer money) I am not spending by sleeping amidst oxygen rich plants instead of dying in some mold infested apartment, like I was doing.

I am not making millions of dollars but I am saving millions by refusing to accept conventional treatment and, instead, getting myself well. (Though I halfway expect this comment to be deleted because people get serious upset when I say stuff like this because much of the world thinks I have Munchausen by Internet, which is not true.)

Plus what Jacqueline and jessamyn said.


Plus, Metafilter is critical to my ability to sort out my shit. I don't want it going away or getting fucked up.


PS I gave a whole dollar. One time. My bragging rights came cheap. (rolls eyes)

Damn, can people take that for the SHUT UP it was intended as? Wow.
posted by Michele in California at 1:01 PM on May 23 [23 favorites]


Although that sounds good, it's a bit abusive, isn't it? Is this really the way money should flow? From homeless to well-off, just for the sake of a website? Because they chose so?

I wish you guys would think carefully about their next bite of food, when it comes from those who have no food at all.
posted by Houstonian at 1:01 PM on May 23


Houstonian, people like you scare the shit out of me. jessamyn is not abusing me by respecting my right to exercise agency but folks like you often try to abuse me in the name of "helping" me while assuming I am too fucking stupid to make my own decisions.

Anyway, I am done here. (I hope.)
posted by Michele in California at 1:03 PM on May 23 [25 favorites]


Now THIS is the MetaTalk I remember! After 4+ days of schmoopy, I was wondering how long it would be until we got back to bickering on the gray. ;)
posted by Jacqueline at 1:04 PM on May 23 [13 favorites]


I liked schmoopy...
posted by one4themoment at 1:06 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


As a reminder, there's always the option of flagging it and moving on. We can choose not to have a derail here.
posted by scrump at 1:06 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I wonder if it would make more sense to have the link in the banner go directly to the contribution page, rather than the explanatory blog post. That would reduce by one the number of clicks necessary to make a donation, and might increase giving. And the blog post could be linked instead on the contribution page.

yeah. i feel for anyone motivated this is not super complicated to figure out, but the blurb that's already on the top of the funding page is nice and quick for those who might be intimidated by an 800 comment thread. keep the blurb and maybe add somewhere "if you'd like to know more about how volatility affects this site" plus a link to the layoff thread, and "if you'd like to see discussion on this funding drive and how we're handling" plus a link to this funding thread.
posted by twist my arm at 1:10 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I wish you guys would think carefully about their next bite of food, when it comes from those who have no food at all.

Wow, this is so paternalistic and classist that I am pretty shocked to see it here. So the people who run Metafilter don't care about the hunger crisis in America because Michele made her own decision about how to spend a dollar?
posted by scody at 1:14 PM on May 23 [23 favorites]


I'm with jessamyn. The whole idea of a fund raiser for a non-charity is fraught with issues (I thought Kwine's comment above sums them up well), but it's quite another thing to tell an adult that they shouldn't give money to something they want to give money to.

I also think that the general "issues" with this type of fund-raiser are greatly mitigated in this case by Matt's long-term track record as a decent and honest guy with the users of the site.

But . . . I am also reminded of Kottke's experiment in soliciting donations/sponsorship and then having a bunch of people griping that he didn't do anything amazing enough with the money - leading him to not repeat the experiment
posted by Mid at 1:16 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


...did Houstonian just button? (I was gonna take it to MeMail.)
posted by Jacqueline at 1:17 PM on May 23


In Houstonian's defense, I am guessing my long post was not seen before his/her unfortunate shorter comment right after it. So, you know, bad timing.

For the record, I generally eat better than other people, regardless of their economic status. I commented previously on that on the blue when I talked about the rich college kids in La Jolla being envious of my meals and snacks. (But, no, I am not going to go find that link right now.)

I think it's been over a year since I actually went hungry for a day or so. FWIW. If I thought I was going to have trouble eating this month, I wouldn't have done it. Duh. I am homeless, not brainless.

So, kindly, you know, rerail the topic away from me. One of my biggest issues online is the way my life story derails conversations. So I mostly don't really mind that much that sometimes the mods delete my shit because ... it's just better than what goes on a lot of other places. Whatever.
posted by Michele in California at 1:20 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Hey, Houstonian, if you're still reading this, please come back and MeMail me, k?
posted by Jacqueline at 1:21 PM on May 23


Have there been a lot of new signups in the last few days? I know there's been a lot of lurkers signing up but I'm also curious about people who are absolutely new to Mefi joining in (though I suppose trying to differentiate the two isn't really possible unless you overtly track that information).

I was thinking that it might be a good idea to have a couple of lines after the navigation and before the HR that leads to the posts talking about what the site is and how to participate. Especially for AskMefi since that seems to be the way most people find the site, but (if Shit My Contact Form Says is any indication) it's not immediately obvious how people can post questions.

Something like:
New to Metafilter?
Metafilter is a community weblog where members can post links to the Best of the Web and enjoy well-written discussions. It is free to read, and a one-off $5 fee to post and comment. More info here.

or
New to Ask Metafilter?
Ask Metafilter allows you to ask questions about practical or personal matters at hand to our memberbase and receive thoughtful advice from our fellow members. You are able to answer questions too! It's free to read and a one-off $5 fee to ask and answer. More info here.

yadda yadda you get the idea.
posted by divabat at 1:24 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Michele in California: "One of my biggest issues online is the way my life story derails conversations. So I mostly don't really mind that much that sometimes the mods delete my shit"

Perhaps, then, it is on you to not create extra work for our overworked mods (the topic of these save MetaFilter threads!) by not deliberately introducing comments you believe have a high likelihood of derailing the thread. If you know it's a problem, and you keep doing it anyway, it's now a Problem.

It seems to be in very bad faith to be brainstorming about how to "save metafilter" while simultaneously, in the very same thread, deliberately engaging in behavior you know is problematic and results in extra mod labor (which is what's in short supply here and needs saving!), then dismissing that behavior with a "whatever."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:31 PM on May 23 [14 favorites]


It'd be really nice if the page gave us dollar totals, not just the number of people.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:33 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Another one for the idea dump (apologies if mentioned on this or other threads). Unless I'm missing something, the MetaFilter shop is just four t-shirts, good though they are. Any possibility of there being an e-store with a wider range of products?

From (limited) experience, I've experimented with CafePress (disappointing) and Zazzle (strangely a good sales place, though no idea why). Drop in one or two image templates, select the range of products it should be on, select how many bucks MF get over what the store takes. Then throw some links to it, and let it be. I'd quite like to get a MetaFilter mug and some postcards, personally.

Okay, it's not going to be a massive moneyspinner, but requires no time after the initial set-up (unless you want to add more designs, or increase the product range). Another egg for the MetaFilter basket.
posted by Wordshore at 1:35 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Joakim Ziegler: It'd be really nice if the page gave us dollar totals, not just the number of people.

From a fund-raising side, this is a weird thing. What is the goal of the current fund-raising efforts? Is there a target? Or is it to allow people to give some money to something they have enjoyed for years?

Putting a dollar amount up can stymie fundraising efforts if there is no goal in sight, even for people who would otherwise donate out of want to support the site, because they might think the site has collected enough money.



Wordshore: Another one for the idea dump (apologies if mentioned on this or other threads). Unless I'm missing something, the MetaFilter shop is just four t-shirts, good though they are. Any possibility of there being an e-store with a wider range of products?

If I recall correctly, Zazzle has a moderately high base price for items, and people figure out how much they want back and tack that on to the base price. I figure many other sites are similar, when those sites offer one design, many products. I think Topatoco plays nicer with folks, but might take more work and they have a limited supply of things to print. Anyway, there's a reason or three why a bunch of indie/web comics and other folks use Topatoco vs Zazzle.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:42 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


It's too early just yet to talk about longer-term changes as a result of this, but we're definitely talking about things internally. Part of it is we need to see how sustainable the smaller staffing is, and whether the ad revenue keeps trending downward.

I have to say, though, these numbers make me feel a lot better. Being an ex-game industry person, I was resigned to polishing up my resume, although this is the best job I've had. I'm now a lot more hopeful that we can keep on keepin' on for a while yet, even if we need to do some creative thinking on the back end.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:47 PM on May 23 [20 favorites]


From a fund-raising side, this is a weird thing. What is the goal of the current fund-raising efforts? Is there a target? Or is it to allow people to give some money to something they have enjoyed for years?

Yeah, it's a bit ambiguous in that we didn't spend weeks brainstorming a specific fundraiser with specific goals, this is more like people started giving money and we formalized that a bit, but yeah I can see how it'd help to lay out some real goals and put status up for how close we are to attaining them.

Personally, my hope was to get monthly subscribers to help offset the money we relied on from advertising. Last I checked, we were over 25% of the way there. It'd be an amazing someday goal to get to 100%, but I know that's crazy insane and unlikely, but something to work towards.

For the most part, I think this is 15 years of fan support coming to us at once as a one-time thing, but the monthly long term stuff is what will ensure we can stick around.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:48 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


I've emailed the mods with some ideas for a store, but I'm pretty sure that's going to be something that needs to wait for a week or so while they sort out the current influx of happy goodwill. Society6 seems to have nice quality stuff - not the worlds highest markup, but would be an easy way to expand the store offerings.
posted by korej at 1:50 PM on May 23


I would love to see new T-shirts, although my breasts would be extremely grateful if we went with something besides American Apparel.
posted by lalex at 1:53 PM on May 23 [11 favorites]


I will send a check just so I can write "McMinnville" on the envelope.

I went to college in that town, and it tickles me that the site where I spend the vast majority of my online time on is based there.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:53 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I just came to the thread to post a suggestion along the line of divabat's, but now it's already been said better than I would have described it. So, I concur.
posted by stopgap at 1:53 PM on May 23


I agree with filthy light thief that it would be great to have someone decide on what the best case goals are. Maybe separate goals for subscriber and one-off contributions or someway to tie those goals together, and then also show in some fashion, like a progress bar, how far we have come to reaching those goals.

I loved the excitement last night when we were all watching to see the subscribers number get to 1000. We should try to keep that excitement going, and establishing some targets and giving members a view on how close we are getting to achieving those targets would be very motivating.
posted by marsha56 at 1:55 PM on May 23


Or on preview, what mathowie just said.

It'd be an amazing someday goal to get to 100%, but I know that's crazy insane and unlikely, but something to work towards

I'll be much more crazy likely once we know what we're shooting for.
posted by marsha56 at 1:58 PM on May 23


We're getting close to 1500 monthly subscribers, I think getting that to 3,000 or 5,000 would be an attainable goal we could build big thermometers for.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:59 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


If you like nice, round numbers, at 1429 monthlies, we're closing in on the 1500 very soon!
posted by idealist at 2:00 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


What Matt said, haha
posted by idealist at 2:01 PM on May 23


(Please please please have non-Paypal credit card options for monthly subscribers before thermometers.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:01 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


If we did get the thermometer, I imagine hordes of sockpuppet monthlies popping up to join the love boat.
posted by idealist at 2:02 PM on May 23


The non-paypal monthly stuff is non-trivial. We could easily do Stripe for one-time payments, but for monthly it requires us kind of building a whole user subscription management system. So I hope to offer that soon, but it may be a week or two.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:03 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Perhaps, then, it is on you to not create extra work for our overworked mods (the topic of these save MetaFilter threads!) by not deliberately introducing comments you believe have a high likelihood of derailing the thread. If you know it's a problem, and you keep doing it anyway, it's now a Problem.

Wait, so everyone else can talk about their personal lifestyles and purchasing decisions and budget as they relate to their choices to contribute to MetaFilter but Michelle can't because her situation is unusual? That doesn't seem very fair.

We have MeFites from all classes and walks of life and from all over the globe (including many in developing countries). Almost all of us are "poor" relative to someone else. If everyone's only goal was to optimize their every penny to ensure their future financial security then very few of us would be giving to MetaFilter at all.

Fortunately for MetaFilter, some of us value being part of a community and the dignity of being able to contribute what we consider our "fair share" to that community enough that we're willing to make sacrifices elsewhere. I'm currently almost as bad off as Michelle is but I decided that it was more important to me to contribute here than to eat something other than plain oatmeal for breakfast for the foreseeable future.

Deciding for someone else that he/she is "too poor" to contribute to MetaFilter is demeaning. If you're not independently wealthy yourself, then why is is okay for you to decide what to do with your money but not okay for people like Michelle and I to do the same thing? Are we beneath you? Or do we make you feel guilty because we're willing to make nontrivial sacrifices and you're not?

I'm certainly much poorer than Matt and the mods but I don't begrudge them a penny of their income. They've worked very hard and put up with a lot of shit to create this wonderful place for us and I consider the value they've added to my life and continue to add to my life to greatly exceed the cost of my $5/month pledge.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:05 PM on May 23 [21 favorites]


I'd love the thermometers to include the single contributions also somehow. I've already setup a subscription with what I feel comfortable with. But if I saw that we were still short of reaching our goals for the year, I would keep making little single contributions.

If you don't include single contributions in some way, because I've already subscribed, I won't have anyway to keep helping getting to the big target. It's so much more fun being at the MeFi thermometer watching party if I know I'm continuing to help push it higher.
posted by marsha56 at 2:10 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Maybe take one-time contributions and divide by 12, then add that to the monthly goal thermometer?
posted by Jacqueline at 2:13 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Jacqueline it's not so much what MiC talks about, but that she manages to do it in a way that invites drama. I see it as a style thing, not a substance thing. And it's not a one-off special situation thing either, but something that shows up in a lot of her communication here, so it's not surprising to see people react to it a little bit.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:14 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Just chiming in to say I love that the total subscriber number is now in the bar at the top! Great idea!
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 2:15 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Maybe two thermometers for separate goals?
posted by korej at 2:16 PM on May 23


A few years ago, I was under what seemed like crushing medical debt. AskMe helped to calm me the fuck down, get myself together and organize my finances so that I could begin to emerge from what I felt was an impossible task - be completely debt-free and to rebuild my credit history. Fast forward one year and I had paid off my entire medical debt, interest free, in cash. Fast forward three years and I'm completely debt free and my credit has bounced back to a quite an acceptable score.

And you want me to help give a little sumthin' sumthin' back to this amazing little website that has entertained me daily for more than eight years?

DONE.
posted by HeyAllie at 2:26 PM on May 23 [14 favorites]


Jacqueline it's not so much what MiC talks about, but that she manages to do it in a way that invites drama.

How did Michelle "invite drama" by disclosing that she is homeless yet is still contributing to MetaFilter? She's just talking about her financial reality the same way that all the people upthread are when they talk about how much they spend on other things relative to MetaFilter or what they're going to trim from their budget to afford their monthly MetaFilter pledge.

The "drama" here was in the classist, demeaning response that it was wrong for someone in Michelle's position to be able to contribute to a community that she values.

Why do people get so uncomfortable when Michelle is just talking about her life, just like anyone else here? Is it disgust that "the poors" are among us? Is it guilt over how much more you have than her? Should homeless people and other truly poor (not hipster poor) people just stay off the internet because you'd rather not think about them (us)? Or does she just not conform to your prejudices of what someone in her situation is supposed to be like? I sincerely don't get what the problem is.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:30 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


A thermometer for each end


/runs, fast
posted by infini at 2:31 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


One thing I have learned from Metafilter is to live and let live. Everyone deserves agency.

We were asked by Michele to stop discussing her specifically, and I think it would be very kind of us to respect that request.
posted by sockermom at 2:31 PM on May 23 [14 favorites]


It's fundamentally dehumanising to tell people that they can't contribute.

Luckily MiC is around and a great community member, and I like and value her contributions independent of current health/oxygen/donation status. Ain't a thing unless people choose to make it a thing.

*waves cheerily at MiC*
posted by jaduncan at 2:31 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


[Folks, for MiC and everybody else's sake please consider stepping back a bit from an MiC-centric sidebar conversation here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:35 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Yeah, let's get back to that email that I haven't gotten but everyone else has. It's discrimination I tell you. Favoritism.
posted by one4themoment at 2:37 PM on May 23


The email is a lie.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:37 PM on May 23


I actually got the email, it turns out, and my stunt-funding was definitely after the proper donations page went up. It's possible a bit got twiddled where it should have been twaddled; pb's looking into it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:38 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Yes, a tweedle indeed, I received that email too (thumbs nose at one4themoment) and I know I was the last one at the party...
posted by infini at 2:42 PM on May 23


Now I want to change my profile to say "casual bit twiddler," but no one would understand and would probably look at me askance at meetups.

I'd say "cortex said it first," but then people would say "it made sense when he said it," and I would have to agree.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:44 PM on May 23


Some in-thread ascii art might make me feel better. A *little* better. I'm not sure how mad I actually am about the email yet. I was going to askme later and find out.
posted by one4themoment at 2:45 PM on May 23


I was in the first 232 group, and while I got four e-mails from Pay-Pal, I never got an e-mail from MeFi. I paid with credit card. I didn't login to Pay-Pal. Just a data point.

(really, just a data point. I used Matt's link to give myself a profile star. I really don't care about the letter. I just wanted you to know in case some of the other 232's cared.)
posted by marsha56 at 2:47 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Oh, and yes, I did check my spam folder on both my e-mail accounts. Both the one I link my MeFi account to and the account linked to Pay-Pal.
posted by marsha56 at 2:49 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


i take your data point and invalidate it since I paid the same way and that too with a foreign address/card/accent
posted by infini at 2:49 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I got the email, but I donated after the page went up. Maybe the list of emails got switched around?
posted by divabat at 2:50 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Ha, but I reverse invalidate it! Early 232, no emails ever.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:50 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Another data point: I set my monthly pledge up on May 19 at 6:09 PM Eastern time and have NOT received the email. It's definitely the same address as my account because that's where all my MeMails and Contact Form replies go.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:50 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I set up a monthly pledge in the early 232 and then canceled it and set up a higher pledge through the link after it went up. No email, but that might just be because I'm difficult and complicated.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:53 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Sorry about the email mix-ups everyone. If we could have planned this thing from the beginning it would have gone very differently.

Here is the full text of the email.

You'll have to imagine it is in your inbox instead of on a page. Again, sorry about the hassle.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:53 PM on May 23 [11 favorites]


pb you should totally add Matt's face all huge-Jimmy-Wales style to that page
posted by Jacqueline at 2:55 PM on May 23


Aww, that email is lovely! I really wish I had gotten it though. Reading it here is just not the same.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:57 PM on May 23


I was already happy to be an early contributor, but I had no idea that contributing early would also make me LUCKY! (How would I know that without receiving the email??)

Yay lucky!
posted by mudpuppie at 2:58 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Aww, that was sweet !!

Thanks Matt and pb !!
posted by marsha56 at 3:02 PM on May 23


and we're back to schmoopy! in your face Jacqueline! hahahahahahaha
posted by one4themoment at 3:08 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


mathowie: "For the most part, I think this is 15 years of fan support coming to us at once as a one-time thing, but the monthly long term stuff is what will ensure we can stick around."

I wouldn't be so certain that it's a one-time thing, Matt. Yeah, the whole organic, let's dig up the obscure PayPal link and practically force this fundraiser on mathowie thing is probably sui generis. But I work for a for-profit website (another small, independent media operation, with traffic very similar to MetaFilter's) that relies heavily on user donations, year after year. I'll bet there's a way to make it work, though it might require tapping some professional fundraising help.

Also, I can't freaking believe that Washington Post writer who said "only" 1,500-some odd people had donated. Seriously? These are bonkers numbers.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 3:10 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


It didn't arrive, but I don't care! My new favorite hobby of refreshing the donation page and giggling continues.
posted by korej at 3:12 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


in your face

Maybe a liiiittle counterproductive; let's embrace the schmoop full-force if that's what we're gonna do.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:22 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Here is the full text of the email.

Just FYI, clicking through lets you add the star whether you've contributed or not. (I haven't because I need to activate my new credit card first and to do that I need to find the damn thing).
posted by Rumple at 3:24 PM on May 23


and we're back to normal... :/
posted by one4themoment at 3:24 PM on May 23


Yeah, it works on the honor system, Rumple. We don't have an accurate way to associate those early payments with specific members.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:26 PM on May 23


cortex: Dude, *I'm* the one who favorited that comment (and because I'm using my favorites as Likes, not because I'm using them as a Fuckers I'm Gonna Get Someday list).

It was obviously playful teasing and I took it as such.

SCHMOOPY IS BACK ON THE MENU!
posted by Jacqueline at 3:26 PM on May 23


SCHMOOPY!!!!!
posted by one4themoment at 3:27 PM on May 23


It's been a weird week, apologies if I came off as crispy or too conservative there. Just want everybody to be feeling okay, mostly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:27 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


(Also... I'd like to avoid the FIGGS list...)
posted by one4themoment at 3:27 PM on May 23


I saw the star just moments after I finished up on Paypal and came back ... didn't have to do it myself neither
posted by infini at 3:28 PM on May 23


Haa-aang on Schmoopy, Schmoopy hang on
posted by scody at 3:29 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


someone please pass cortex the schmoopy, he seems to be running dry
posted by Jacqueline at 3:30 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


I'm getting all my schmoopy here... the local well ran dry a while back... Metatalk has become my oasis of schmoopy... my schmoopy dealer... my raison de schmoopy...
posted by one4themoment at 3:34 PM on May 23


One4themoment, don't you bogart that schmoopy...
posted by freya_lamb at 3:38 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Re: Monthly contributions and PayPal

I'm one of the people who wants to board the monthly contribution train, but doesn't do a whole lot of on-line shopping, and would love to stay away from PayPal.

So I'd love it if you came up with a way to set up monthly charges outside of PayPal. That said, I'm not rolling in it, so we're not talking big bux.

mathowie said he was working on a non-PayPal method. So what I'd like is, in a week or two, either announce "Here's how to subscribe" or "Looked in to it, and it's too much work". Then I could just bite the PayPal bullet, 'cause I love you guys, and I'm not going to go without a star. Thanks.

/P.S. schmoop schmoop schmoop, and "Crispy Cortex" sounds like something you order on a dare at Dim Sum.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:38 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I thought that's what we were subscribing for freya_lamb...? If this thread isn't about me I'm about to be really embarrassed....
posted by one4themoment at 3:39 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting the email text. I'm another one who set up before the fundraising page, and I also didn't receive it.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:07 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


We're getting close to 1500 monthly subscribers, I think getting that to 3,000 or 5,000 would be an attainable goal we could build big thermometers for.

Kind of exciting, isn't it!

It might help if someone from mainstream media wrote an article saying there's no way it could happen because we are all backward keyboard fondling 1990's throwbacks with no listicles. Or we can just take it as read that they are thinking that and get on with it.
posted by asok at 4:14 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


It's sounding more and more like the two groups (donated early = get email) (donated after = do not get email) got transposed. A rare slip-up by pb, and I'm sure one which can be forgiven.
posted by Curious Artificer at 4:14 PM on May 23


I don't think so- I donated early and got the email.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:17 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


It's not a straight transposition, at least; pb checked for that. Seems like there's definitely some bumps but not sure totally what the source is and it may be a few different things working together to make things headachy.

In any case, self-serve on the ifunded page he linked is totally okay to use if you're waiting on an email that hasn't come. Honor system's a good thing, we trust you guys.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:21 PM on May 23


I really hope no one is taking the email thing for serious. I think it's fun to tease about because it's so inconsequential... plus I really wanted that email. But so long as there's someplace for me to mock-complain about it I'm happy. schmappy?
posted by one4themoment at 4:22 PM on May 23


I'm really looking forward to Tuesday when the checks from all us PayPal eschewers start showing up.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:26 PM on May 23


Are we problem-solving? I mistakenly got that email, too.
posted by moira at 4:29 PM on May 23


Are we problem-solving?

No, we're not working on the email anymore. We're not going be sending out any more based on PayPal email addresses like that. We're just going to chalk this up to experience and try to be more prepared to handle this sort of thing in the future.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:36 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Are you guys going to track checks on the finding page? Because, you know, challenge.
posted by eriko at 4:53 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think that would be a good idea.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:02 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


The email never bothered me anywayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
posted by one4themoment at 5:03 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


check people...

Metafilter Network, Inc.
1271 NE Hwy 99W #109
McMinnville, OR 97128
posted by bruce at 6:04 PM on May 23


someone please pass cortex the schmoopy, he seems to be running dry

on the left-hand side please folks
posted by clockzero at 6:29 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


This is very late in this thread, but since it was wondered about earlier, I thought I would post that I am a lurker who joined (yesterday) and became a monthly subscriber because of the post from Mathowie about revenue and staffing decisions. I am not sure when I started reading Metafilter, but I know I was reading before September 11, 2001 as Metafilter was where I spent that evening, unable to break away from what was happening. It was also important to me as there were others thinking the same way as I was about possible government overreaches in the name of keeping us safe. I was not regular then, but for the last few years Metafilter has been my internet home. That sounds strange coming from someone who never joined, and I am not sure how much I will comment, but I know I hope to be part of the community that supports this site for many years to come.
posted by dawg-proud at 6:55 PM on May 23 [37 favorites]


Oh, and also, the site is even more user-friendly once you become a member, I can not believe I waited so long to join. The tracking of where you left off and being able to mark threads for yourself, etc. I highly encourage anyone lurking to go ahead and spring for the $5 join-up fee, it is worth every penny.
posted by dawg-proud at 7:13 PM on May 23 [13 favorites]


Clock me also as a long-time lurker, very occasional commenter, and someone not too keen on PayPal. But MetaFilter means so much to me that I have created two accounts on PayPal over the years and used them both exactly once. The first time to join MetaFilter in 2005, and today again, to register my monthly support. I really don't know what I'd do without this wonderful corner of the Internet. Rallying together feels good, as does watching that number of donators go up. My kind of community :)
posted by recklessbrother at 7:14 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


check people...

Before you wreck people?
posted by ersatz at 7:21 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Will the numbers on new members be available in the infodump? I'm wondering how many people have signed up.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:26 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


lalex:
I would love to see new T-shirts, although my breasts would be extremely grateful if we went with something besides American Apparel.


For the love of all that's good and holy, +∞!! Have been asking for this since the last round of tees were announced. Please, please, please!!
posted by ApathyGirl at 7:35 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Agreed. Is there anyone who manufactures t-shirts for printing on that can be worn by we the bosomly blessed? It is nice not to just have to wear boxy t-shirts when a bit of a v-neck and shorter sleeves are so much more flattering.

Clearly these shirts are made for some purposes—I have a whole bunch of solid colored ladies cut t-shirts in my size from Old Navy—but I have yet to see a ladies cut t-shirt in truly larger sizes from any place that's selling printed tees online.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:43 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


So, given that mudpuppie and Toekneesan both contributed for me (because they are WONDERFUL), do I click the link and get a star?

What is the accepted protocol on this?

(I kinda really do want to know here.)
posted by cmyk at 7:43 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Go get your star on, cmyk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:45 PM on May 23 [20 favorites]


Will the numbers on new members be available in the infodump? I'm wondering how many people have signed up.

Yep, it'll update as normal, though I can just tell you right now it's been 209 new signups since Monday, which is a whole lot more than usual. We average more like 6-10 daily under normal circumstances.

do I click the link and get a star?

You are darned tooting you do.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:47 PM on May 23 [11 favorites]


Thank you, o wise Jessamyn <3
posted by cmyk at 7:47 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


And wise cortex, who I did not see when the comment posted.
posted by cmyk at 7:48 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


cmyk, if you don't claim your star, I'm canceling your subscription. Star up, dammit.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:52 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Done!
posted by cmyk at 7:53 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I'm really sorry. I realize now that it sounds like I think I can order you around. I didn't mean it that way -- honest! I just wanted you to know that you are fully entitled to a fucking star, dammit.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:56 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


I gotcha. We're good.
posted by cmyk at 7:58 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Agreed. Is there anyone who manufactures t-shirts for printing on that can be worn by we the bosomly blessed?

I have had a few printed tees from Bella that are certainly better fitting than American Apparel.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:03 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Guys, I'm having a brain gap: I signed up for monthly recurring Paypal donations on day 1 of all this, but I haven't seen any indication that the payment is going to recur. I went into "My preapproved payments" in Paypal and I don't see metafilter listed. How can I tell without waiting to see if another payment goes through next month?
posted by mantecol at 8:07 PM on May 23


This is relevant to my interests and I shall subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by littlesq at 8:12 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


eriko: Are you guys going to track checks on the finding page? Because, you know, challenge.

pb: Yeah, I think that would be a good idea.

I sent a paper check today for 12 months of support, set a reminder to do it again in a year, and claimed my star a couple of days early.

Thank you if you put in the work to include the non-paypal people in the overall supporter's count, it is really fun to watch that number go up and up.
posted by peeedro at 8:19 PM on May 23


Re: t-shirts. I am not an owner of the big boobs but would like to echo a more flattering cut for the women. A simple v cut with slightly tapered sides would do it for me.

I know that this is the last thing that you guys have your minds on now. Just thought I'd chime in.

I think you all rock. The last few days have warmed my grouchy soul and I will throw benjamins at you when I am able to.
posted by futz at 8:44 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I left my wallet in El Segundo...
posted by futz at 8:49 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


mantecol, if you're not seeing MetaFilter in "My preapproved payments" you probably made a one-time payment instead. We've heard a few non-US folks say that recurring payments were not working for them via the link on Day 1. The current Help Fund MetaFilter page seems to be working much, much better.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:59 PM on May 23


In for $5/month. Fuck the new internet. I love you all.
posted by empyrean at 9:08 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


mantecol - What pb said. It happened to me (I'm in Montreal) and I swore up and down that it was recurring but it didn't go through that way. I used the new link on the Help Fund page and it worked just fine. :)
posted by juliebug at 9:35 PM on May 23


mantecol, if you're not seeing MetaFilter in "My preapproved payments" you probably made a one-time payment instead. We've heard a few non-US folks say that recurring payments were not working for them via the link on Day 1. The current Help Fund MetaFilter page seems to be working much, much better.

Thanks. I signed up again and I see MetaFilter in my list now. Hope you guys didn't lose a lot of donations to that.
posted by mantecol at 9:36 PM on May 23


Viva Metafilter! In for a monthly donation, but it'll take many months/years to feel like I've repaid for the eight years I've been a daily reader. Metafilter has changed me, forever. Love you all.
posted by missmary6 at 10:52 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I don't comment often these days, as most of my time is committed elsewhere, but I still read MeFi frequently and feel strongly that it's my online home, and I'm thrilled to see this level of support from the community.

This place means so much to me. Where do I even start? I have no idea what I'd do without it. As a feminist, I find that truly safe, well-moderated online spaces where I feel comfortable speaking up are few and far between. MeFi is one of precious few places I feel safe enough to make comments like my most-favourited one. AskMe, in particular, is unrivaled for online emotional support and relationship advice. The Portland MeFi IRL meetups were a lifeline to sanity for me in the years after my divorce. MeFites helped me build a new life after my old one was gutted. After I mentioned the huge financial loss I suffered at the hands of a duplicitous cheating ex who got away with my share of the money from the sale of our house, a kind-hearted MeFite even offered me some paid freelance subcontract writing work - unsolicited! - that made it possible to pay for dental work I desperately needed at the time. Totally blew me away. That act of faith in me and my writing skills gave me not just a bit of income, but a much-needed sense of hope during a very dark time.

MeFites were there to congratulate me via MeMail when I got engaged, to offer support when the engagement was broken later that year...and even to enspousenate me when I was looking for a date back in 2009!

I'll be making a small one-time donation for now. My financial situation has been precarious for years, and although it's been looking more promising ever since I solved my job dilemma by starting a solo house cleaning business and finally got health insurance (thanks Obamacare and Oregon!), I am not yet in a position to donate regularly as I'd like to. For now my main financial goal is to become self-supporting and get off food stamps.

When I am once again in a position to give as MeFi so richly deserves - and I have faith that one day I will be - then I will do so without hesitation. MeFi is one of very few places where I truly feel accepted and valued for my contributions to the community, regardless of my ability (or lack thereof) to pay. The fact that this is the case - that I don't ever feel even slightly shamed around here because my contributions are in words but not dollars - is one of the many reasons I will be so happy to chip in when my financial situation improves. Of course, my immense appreciation for the excellent moderation here doesn't hurt either.

I love that the star works on the honour system. I think of trust and community - built over the long term - as the underlying 'currency' that makes an outpouring of financial support like this possible.

I love you MeFi! Schmoopy overload for everyone!
posted by velvet winter at 11:24 PM on May 23 [30 favorites]


I just gave 20 bucks for all the 5 dollar noobs and lurkers. and for the sick sexual thrill of it all
posted by The Whelk at 12:13 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


OK, so the back of my envelope says we're up to about a hundred thou yearly recurring; can we put one moderator back on each of William James and Sigmund Freud yet?
posted by flabdablet at 12:15 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


I'm loving the lurkers coming out of the woodwork...
posted by infini at 12:27 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


I just checked my page info in Firefox for Meta and Ask - I've apparently visited both for a total of 19,505 times (I'm not sure when the count started...I think maybe 3 years now?). And that's just on my computer.

Yeah, I probably should give you all my money now.
posted by littlesq at 12:51 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


I finally found time to get my paypal account back up and running, so I'm in! I laughed when I read the comment above about spending more time on metafilter than med school because I could really relate (minus the med school part).

I just looked back a few days ago at this comment from mathowie: "running the numbers, we would literally need a few thousand people to pony up $2-$3 a month for that optional subscription." Annnnnd... done!
(Or so I hope?)

But who knows what google's next capricious whim might bring. What about setting the new thermometer and shooting for one-quarter, one-third, one-half of ad revenue that could be offset?
posted by salvia at 12:59 AM on May 24


Oh. And I also really wanted to thank the mods, and especially mathowie, for everything you're doing to figure this out. It sounds like you've gone through a pretty stressful time. Thanks for managing the financial strain as long as you did and for speaking up when you did.
posted by salvia at 1:01 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


About seven years ago I was just starting library school and one of the requirements for the intro to lis class was to be signed up to an rss reader thingy. I chose google reader (rip) because I already had gmail. My first search looking for a blog to follow was for "librarian blog" which led me to librarian.net and from the side bar to ask.metafilter. Thanks Jessamyn for all your work. My tiny contribution and me discovering this amazing place is all you.
posted by nestor_makhno at 1:01 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


If/when there are spare Dev cycles, a "constellation of contributors" map might be interesting based on available data: funded flag & lat/long. Anyone without lat/long is put somewhere like the Bermuda Triangle or something.

COC is merely alliterative & based on sneechy stars; maybe it can be a bird map instead & it's a flock of funders instead.
posted by tilde at 1:05 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


The lurkers support MeFi in PayPal.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:05 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


It's pretty cool that the first comment in this thread is someone, Etrigan, being the 231st person to donate, and now someone was just the 2301st person to donate. Onward towards 23001!
posted by salvia at 1:06 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Not looking for a star or anything but it might be interesting to count how many accounts have been gifted since the news broke. I have bought 4 and will probably get some more next week.
posted by epo at 2:35 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


1500 subscribers! Me fi fo lyfe!
posted by adrianhon at 4:20 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


check people...
Metafilter Network, Inc.
1271 NE Hwy 99W #109
McMinnville, OR 97128

What about cheque people?

it's OK, I don't even know anyone that uses such an antiquated way of transferring money, much less need to know myself.

It's super heartwarming to see the community react in this way, although completely unsurprising. It's, in some weird way, a perfect example of the absolute decency of the people that make this place up that the members just started throwing money in the hat as soon as they found out things were tight. Even more so that there was no clear way to do so but, instead of giving up, people went looking for a way.
posted by dg at 5:04 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


No we need a giant picture of Matt grimacing at us in a vaguely supervillain-esque pose with METAFILTER NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT in 48 point font on each page.

MAKE MATT SMILE!

He wants to turn that frown upside down, but he needs your support! As people contribute, he'll start smiling. We'll get the full grin when we've reached our goal!
posted by vitabellosi at 5:22 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a Fuckers I'm Gonna Get Someday list
posted by ersatzkat at 5:23 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


I learned about Metafilter from the Guardian newspaper. Now Metafilter is my newspaper. Sorry Guardian!
posted by alasdair at 5:31 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


OK, when do I get my super secret decoder ring which will let me decode secret messages from mathowie?

It doesn't work that way. You get Rickrolled by a numbers station.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:44 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


We're up to 2323.

How discordian

Q: prove that 2323 follows the rule of fives.
posted by eriko at 7:03 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


It's fun to go to bed at one number of supporters and to see how far it has jumped by the time I get up. I think it's something like 30 more this morning.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:46 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Rumor has it that if we hit 5000 then mathowie will finally reveal the secret of how those people got their cats wedged into their scanners, and why.
posted by drlith at 7:52 AM on May 24 [17 favorites]


Rumor has it that if we hit 5000 then mathowie will finally reveal the secret of how those people got their cats wedged into their scanners, and why.

10000 and he reveals whether he wipes standing up or sitting down.
posted by littlesq at 7:58 AM on May 24


Q: prove that 2323 follows the rule of fives.

2*3+2-3=5, of course!
posted by kaibutsu at 8:40 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


10000 and he vines it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:00 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


11000 and he takes the vine down.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:00 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


I think one of the things considering going forward is how metafilter replaces subscribers. Some people will flameout, some will move on, some will decide they can no longer afford it, some will die. It's my opinion that the goal would be for growth in subscribers. It's great people are doing this, but an examination of sustainability needs to happen.

Only time will tell on some of this, but ongoing links have been mentioned. As have a formalized annual fundraiser.

It really feels like the site is on the cusp of redefining its whole economic and monetizing processes. It would be a shame to see the momentum fade because there was no real plan.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:08 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Just curious, how many contributions are recurring at this point?
posted by SLC Mom at 9:08 AM on May 24


"Just curious, how many contributions are recurring at this point?"

1,523

Average p.p./month was $6,20 some while ago.
posted by travelwithcats at 9:12 AM on May 24


I didn't get the 2323 reference so I went looking. I found

Gene ID: 2323
Dendritic cells (DCs) provide the key link between innate [naturally fabulous Mefites] and adaptive immunity [incredibly responsive Mefites] by recognizing pathogens [Google index updates] and priming pathogen-specific immune responses [cash money].

Or is that reaching a bit....
posted by Beti at 9:20 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


"Just curious, how many contributions are recurring at this point?"

mine isn't recurring simply because that's not how my cash tends to flow. So I'll be the once a year type ... with maybe the odd top up when things are going well, or a pile of people favorite one of my prog-rock related posts.
posted by philip-random at 9:20 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


2checkout might be a decent alternative to paypal for monthly payments.
posted by Mick at 9:38 AM on May 24


Re: once a year

Interestingly, the average one-time donation comes in around $35 - basically the equivalent of half a year if we assume $5-6/month as the standard. [Numbers based on this comment by cortex]

Anyway, I think both, the monthly and the one-time contributions, are very helpful in rebuilding savings and planning for the future. Since we have many members who freelance, IMO it's safe to assume that some of the one-time contributors will come back and donate again in the future, now that we all are aware money is a problem.
posted by travelwithcats at 10:06 AM on May 24


You sent a payment
Against my better moral judgement I used Paypal as I am travelling for a fair bit next week and will forget otherwise.
Please please pretty please get some alternatives up as fast as possible. Using those wankers leaves a bad taste in my mouth even though the cause is good.
posted by adamvasco at 11:07 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I love the idea of PayPal. Their implementation sucks. Freezing people's accounts. Dictating what you can gather money for, etc.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:09 AM on May 24


If there's an easy way you could allow people sign up for periodic reminders to consider a one-time donation, that could be worth a lot more than the cost of the setup effort. I imagine I'm not the only very-irregularly-incomed user who would like that kind of reminder.
posted by kalapierson at 11:28 AM on May 24


Their implementation sucks. Freezing people's accounts.

Heh. Paypal froze my account in several years ago, for reasons that have remained inscrutable, so it's a mark of my love of Metafilter that I spent an hour or two the other day untangling it just so I could set up a monthly payment. So I'm looking forward to a non-Paypal recurring payment option, too, once Matt & Co. have the time a little further down the road to see about an alternative. But in the meantime, I think they should laugh giddily while rolling around in piles of cash, even if said cash is just Monopoly money.

posted by scody at 11:31 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


If there's an easy way you could allow people sign up for periodic reminders to consider a one-time donation


I was saying in the other thread, I think everyone (who doesn't opt out) should get a yearly email on their metafilter anniversary either thanking or hoping for support as appropriate.
posted by shothotbot at 11:34 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I waited a bit to donate in hopes of a non-Paypal option on the official page, so yeah, I'm also looking forward to future alternatives while being happy to contribute this way now. And I agree: a yearly email to past contributors seems like a great idea.
posted by moira at 11:55 AM on May 24


Pictured here, Matt and an unidentified mod carefully tabulating the subscription money.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:57 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


How much to let me change capitalisation for one letter in my username? (;
posted by yoHighness at 12:08 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


That's not Matt and a mod, that's Mr. and Mrs. Mortensen from Accounting. They know how to party.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:10 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


I was going to go to a festival this weekend. Instead, I decided that staying home to cook and code was terribly more fun, especially with the rain outside.

Thus, I donated what I would have spent on tickets for the days I missed so far, which is $20. (It's an inexpensive festival. Maybe I'll go to Folklife on Monday!) If I miss the rest of the festival, another $20 goes into the pot.

You guys are priceless, even when grumpy and beanplatey. I wouldn't have it any other way.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:15 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


How much to let me change capitalisation for one letter in my username?

I thought I remembered reading years ago that how you log on affects how your name is capitalized, but I tried and failed to caps mine. :(
posted by moira at 12:30 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Can't make it without MetaFilter! Check sent, with the total being the equivalent of a year's worth of the regular monthly payments I would normally make. (I'm Paypal avoidant for very good reasons). I've put a calendar reminder for myself to reup same time next year.
posted by gudrun at 12:41 PM on May 24


I would, for the first, only and last time, happily put my email down for a reminder to shovel some money in a year from now.
posted by infini at 12:41 PM on May 24


Yeah, moira, there was a long while where the username was, in some elements on the site including the byline, rendered according to a cookie-stored caps-however-you-did-it value rather than the capitalization of the canonical username on file.

I thought I had a screenshot example on my flickr account but I'm failing to track it down now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:43 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


One of the things I love about Metafilter is that its organic growth means that all of the actual computer stuff is basically tied together with baling wire and string.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:55 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.
posted by jamaro at 1:07 PM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Thanks, travelwithcats and aniola for answering my question. :)
posted by aroweofshale at 1:35 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


happily stepped up for a monthly and a one time donation. i'll do what i can to help keep the lights on.
posted by chasles at 1:57 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I admit I don't visit Metafilter as much as I used to, but as soon as I heard about the funding crisis I had to come pitch in. I've always assumed ask.metafilter would be around when I need it, and it's done me tons of good so far. It's super worth it to pitch in a few bucks a month to help it keep going.
posted by Vorteks at 2:25 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


ONE THOUSANDST
posted by scrump at 4:10 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


almostest
posted by scrump at 4:11 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Also, in the interest of having actual content: BOTE math using Cortex's average of $6.20 per monthly puts us at roughly $9600 recurring per month. Each $5/month donation is another $60 on top of that; another 6 $5/month donations and we'll either break $10k/month or be really close to it.

FYI, if you like nice round numbers:
posted by scrump at 4:31 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


The one time donations are excellent, of course, but can't really be used to make medium to long term plans. But if Metafilter is really going to be pulling in $10k+ in monthly donations that's an awful lot of options opening up for the mods.

Options like really kick ass parties.
posted by Justinian at 4:39 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I originally wrote "$100k+ per month" and it took me way too long to realize why everything looked wrong. But man that woulda been sweet. We could build a Metafilter Clubhouse.
posted by Justinian at 4:41 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


in $100k+ in monthly donations

I think that $100k figure in monthly donations was a potential annual sum. Just to be clear. I don't think it is making matt a millionaire, here.

(jinx)
posted by Michele in California at 4:41 PM on May 24


No, you didn't see my typo! I fixed it before there were witnesses!
posted by Justinian at 4:52 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Options like really kick ass parties.

I know you're joking around but I want to just be the boring grownup here and emphasize that the shape that wild celebratory spending would take is putting another butt or two back in mod seats so long as the difference in net income minus projected taxes and yadda yadda lets us consistently rebuild our savings and provide a solid buffer against additional Adsense downturn.

Maybe a couple mylar balloons.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:53 PM on May 24 [14 favorites]


I can almost not stand seeing you having to play boring grownup.

just yesterday he was all "lol butts" ... *sniff*
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:02 PM on May 24 [45 favorites]


You can't spell "FUN" without C-O-R-T- oh wait you totally can.
posted by Etrigan at 5:02 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


just yesterday he was all "lol butts" ... *sniff*

What do you think's printed on the mylar balloons?
posted by carsonb at 5:07 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Wife and I are in for $20 a month. We pay a heck of a lot more than that for cable that we get a lot less out of.
posted by octothorpe at 5:15 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Surely you could get some weird cheese.

It's just not a party without weird cheese.

It doesn't even have to be expensive - I have been devouring ridiculous quantities of Ashe County garlic cheddar lately and it's almost as cheap as free. I keep meaning to make some kind of tuna casserole with it, but I can't refrain from snorkeling it down long enough to cook with it.
posted by winna at 5:22 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


My kingdom for an img tag.
posted by jocelmeow at 5:30 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


so instead of lol butts on a blimp... we're getting it on mylar baloons? How many more monthlies do we need before the blimp idea is viable? I like blimps...
posted by one4themoment at 5:35 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


I like big blimps and I can not lie
You other brothers can't deny
That when a goodyear flies by towing an ittybitty sign
and a round thing in your gondola
You get sprung, wanna pull out your tough
'Cause you notice that hydrogen was stuffed
Deep in the mylar skin it's wearing
I'm hooked and I can't stop staring...
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:14 PM on May 24 [8 favorites]


The idea of celebrating with a couple of mylar balloons immediately sparked this in my mind.

And now I can't stop giggling.
posted by ambivalentic at 6:15 PM on May 24


Fundraiser meet-ups on or around the MetaFilter birthday could be a thing.
posted by shothotbot at 6:43 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


just yesterday he was all "lol butts" ... *sniff*

When I was a child I spoke of buttslol. But when I became a moderator I put away childish butts.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:12 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Fundraiser meet-ups on or around the MetaFilter birthday could be a thing.

YES! I was wondering the other day about whether it was appropriate under the circumstances to start thinking about plans for a global 15th anniversary set of meetups. Mods, whaddya think -- worth starting another MeTa thread to discuss? (It should go without saying, of course, that there's no expectation of any official Metafilter infusion of cash for the first round, a la the 10th anniversary.)
posted by scody at 7:14 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Jessamyn sniffs lolbutts! You heard it here first, folks.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:15 PM on May 24


I didn't actually see it happen, but I saw it reported on a site I very much trust.
posted by one4themoment at 7:36 PM on May 24


Cortex: being the boring grownup so you don't have to!
posted by Justinian at 7:54 PM on May 24


Have to? Didn't even know I was capable...
posted by one4themoment at 7:59 PM on May 24


I'm down for a fundraising meetup. I'm.already organizing one in Anaheim postVidcon so if you're going to be there hit us up.

Also I'm down for sending gifts of weird cheese to the mods.
posted by divabat at 8:11 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Also I'm down for sending gifts of weird cheese to the mods.

Don't forget: Jessamyn likes hers on a postcard.
posted by shothotbot at 8:15 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


YES! I was wondering the other day about whether it was appropriate under the circumstances to start thinking about plans for a global 15th anniversary set of meetups.

For some reason I can't stop imagining one of those charity events that Batman Villians are always crashing, like tuxes and masks and N orchestra until The Riddler bursts through the big windows overlooking Manhattan with costumed thugs.
posted by The Whelk at 8:22 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


cortex: I thought I had a screenshot example on my flickr account but I'm failing to track it down now.

You do! Here it is.
posted by beryllium at 8:30 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Ah! So it is. I guess I just failed to find it in Flickr's current iteration of their search interface.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:43 PM on May 24


even if said cash is just Monopoly money

That's actually a good point. Is what we're putting in actually making it all the way through to the MetaFilter LLC money bin, or is it still in PayPal's clutches?
posted by flabdablet at 9:04 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Yes, from what Matt has said, PayPal is working better than it did for the raffle we did a few years ago. (Raffles are/were explicitly against their terms of service IIRC.)
posted by pb (staff) at 9:26 PM on May 24


I want to thank you all for donating. I do not have the money right now to do so and I am so happy to see so many of you did. Metafilter is my home on internet for 12 yrs now. Thank you all.
posted by kudzu at 6:50 AM on May 25 [4 favorites]


I woke in this morning and had the strangest sensation Dr. Who Cold Open was really a message from the future about Metafilter v. Google.

Intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.

They have nothing to do with one another, and yet, there it is.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:55 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


jocelmeow: My kingdom for an img tag.

Solution 1: Text (link) to (inline) image (Firefox addon)
Solution 2: Mondo Image MetaFilter script (Greasemonkey script)
Solution 3: buy MetaFilter and demand the feature is re-implemented.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 AM on May 25


Solution 3: buy MetaFilter and demand the feature is re-implemented.

I will collect the money for this. Make checks out to Totally Legitimate Enterprises, Inc.
posted by Etrigan at 9:05 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


Woohoo, just over 1600 monthlies! Plus 866 one-timers!
posted by travelwithcats at 9:12 AM on May 25


Just out of curiosity--and sorry if this is somewhere else, I didn't see it--how does MetaFilter define "active user"?
posted by freejinn at 1:54 PM on May 25


Roughly speaking, someone who has been measurably around (commenting, favoriting, loading the front pages while logged in) in the last day-to-month. Per day is a bit lower, but not by a huge margin; it's generally on the order of ten to twelve thousand different people.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:20 PM on May 25


We're just five away from 2500!
posted by ocherdraco at 4:31 PM on May 25


YOU CAN DO IT METAFILTER

I BELIEVE IN YOU.
posted by The Whelk at 4:44 PM on May 25


Does anyone else thing the banner link should maybe go right to the fundraising page? I only bring it up because, with over 1000 comments, this thread is taking longer and longer to load...
posted by Weeping_angel at 5:20 PM on May 25 [8 favorites]


2501!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 5:24 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


2499!
posted by ocherdraco at 5:24 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]


Well, caching is weird.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:24 PM on May 25 [6 favorites]


Does anyone else thing the banner link should maybe go right to the fundraising page? I only bring it up because, with over 1000 comments, this thread is taking longer and longer to load...

Agreed, and not just because of the loading time, which is not a big deal for more users. More to the point, any clickthrough requirement is a barrier. If the powers that be are not going to put up a more prominent front page "Membership" exhortation, or the kind of pop-over thing that shows up everywhere else, then at the very least, when you click that "join xxxx readers" banner, you should be presented immediately with the subscription options and not have to click yet another link.
posted by beagle at 5:28 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


"Does anyone else thing the banner link should maybe go right to the fundraising page?"

It should. And the banner should be much bigger! I bet many people didn't even notice it.
posted by travelwithcats at 5:28 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


We don't wan to go full-on Jimmy Wales, surely.
posted by winna at 6:45 PM on May 25


If it helps make MetaFilter self-sustaining, or builds in more of a buffer against the wobbly-wobbly bullshit of Google, I'll quite happily spend the next several weeks looking at a full-on Jimmy Wales.
posted by MeghanC at 8:33 PM on May 25


I will send $5 to anyone who photoshops a Matt-as-Mao image for a fundraiser banner.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:42 PM on May 25


The fundraising banner is TINY on mobile devices, making it hard to click on!
posted by divabat at 9:05 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


2502 :)
posted by jeanmari at 9:54 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]


kudzu, I've tossed in $5/month for you. Please go claim your star!
posted by kjs4 at 11:12 PM on May 25 [13 favorites]


Count me in as another who would support a bigger banner with a link that goes directly to the donations page.

I am so glad to see the subscription numbers as high as they are. Thanks for putting up the page that makes it easy to set up a monthly subscription...I couldn't figure out how to do it before.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:42 AM on May 26


I will send $5 to anyone who photoshops a Matt-as-Mao image for a fundraiser banner.

Done your Matt-as-meow picture; send the five bucks to MetaFilter.
posted by Wordshore at 2:16 AM on May 26 [6 favorites]


Kjs4, thank you so much! This is so sweet. Thank you
posted by kudzu at 3:38 AM on May 26


Hell yes, I'm in!
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:51 AM on May 26


Finally got around to signing up for a monthly donation. Thank you for making this an option, Matt! And thank you to the entire MetaFilter team. I can't even imagine life without this site, truly. I should have been contributing monthly for years!
posted by gursky at 6:48 AM on May 26 [2 favorites]


i'm gonna predict that we'll break the 3000 mark by like 10:15 EST. So either I'll be wrong or you all will be amazed at my psychic powers, and the legend will spread
posted by angrycat at 9:14 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]


You're already a legend, angrycat! It will merely add luster to your fame!
posted by winna at 9:26 AM on May 26


I'm in. Thanks CGK for the reminder via the MeFi Fantasy League as I'm not always caught up on MeTa.
posted by TravellingCari at 9:33 AM on May 26


Upping / publicizing the offer: Mods post an address and I pledge to donate FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOGECOINS (currently like $210 - I can provide advice on cashing out easily). Anyone else? Can we get a megaDOGE? Some others wanted, and if you have BTC it is easy and more fun to donate DOGE...

Seriously for all the complaining about PayPal etc I've seen during this donation effort...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:42 AM on May 26


The remaining mods can speak to this if they want, but last I checked we're in thanks-but-no-thanks territory regarding Dogecoin.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:46 AM on May 26


That's a very generous offer, save alive nothing that breatheth, and we appreciate it. However, we are not set up to accept any sort of cryptocurrency and it's not a great time for us to learn the ins and outs. If you were determined to make it happen you could always cash out your dogecoin and send us a check. I realize that's against of the spirit of getting cryptocurrency more widely accepted, but we're just not in a position right now to join that bandwagon. We don't have the bandwidth for it at the moment.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:49 AM on May 26 [2 favorites]


such sad shibe :'( Maybe when DOGE recovers from unprofessional dev communications screwing up the price I'll cash out some profits for donation.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:52 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]


Just had a call from PayPal making sure I was aware of/authorized the payment to MetaFilter. I wonder if all the sudden contributions set off their scam-o-meter?
posted by cecic at 9:54 AM on May 26


PayPal also called Matt to ask what was going on. I think they're just checking things out.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:00 AM on May 26


The total number of donors seems to be dropping instead of rising. Are adjustments being made to the total?
posted by cairnoflore at 11:29 AM on May 26


I can't prove it, but I suspect that I was double counted...
posted by Going To Maine at 11:44 AM on May 26


I think we've had a few hiccups—people accidentally hitting the go button twice, people having paypal headaches on their end, etc.—so a little volatility in the current numbers would make sense there, yeah.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:46 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]


pb: PayPal also called Matt to ask what was going on. I think they're just checking things out.

aw_jeez_not_this_shit_again.jpg
posted by hangashore at 12:35 PM on May 26


what is a snackdick
posted by boo_radley at 11:30 PM on May 26


Often my first meal of the morning.
posted by Kerasia at 12:29 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


It may be a mispelling of snactic, which is a maneuver performed to secure the location of the potato chips.
posted by Jpfed at 6:28 AM on May 27 [4 favorites]


Not sure if you were serious boo_radley but it's a joke referencing the logo of the fictional startup portrayed on HBO's new series Silicon Valley.
Thomas Middleditch stars as the fledging CEO of his own startup called Pied Piper—which has a logo that looks like “a guy sucking a dick, and he’s got another dick tucked behind his ear for later…like a snack dick,” according to one of the programmers played by Kumail Nanjiani

-The Onion AV Club
posted by Wretch729 at 7:41 AM on May 27


So I think we've hit the point where the monthly contribution should be above $10K/month. Can we get an update on the figures? :)
posted by Talez at 7:59 AM on May 27


Probably worth contacting Matt directly. I don't think I have access to them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:06 AM on May 27


I just hope someone takes a picture of that first batch of mailed checks - I know it won't be Miracle on 34th Street level of multiple postal workers dumping bags on a desk, but it must have overflowed the mailbox.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:35 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


I've set up a number of recurring/subscription payments via Paypal, plus I already have a Paypal credit card. But this process insists I give Paypal another credit card.

I don't know whether this is specific to how you guys set this all up, or if Paypal's changed their policy, but I couldn't find any way around it, so I just made a one-time payment.
posted by Quisp Lover at 8:37 AM on May 27


oh yeah!: "I just hope someone takes a picture of that first batch of mailed checks - I know it won't be Miracle on 34th Street level of multiple postal workers dumping bags on a desk, but it must have overflowed the mailbox."

Your Honor, every one of these letters is addressed to Metafilter. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore the Post Office Department, a branch of the Federal Government, recognizes this man, Matt Haughey to be the one and only founder of Metafilter!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:08 AM on May 27 [2 favorites]


Currently:
1,688 monthly subscribers.
932 one-time contributions.

15 years of built-up positive karma, coming home.
posted by zarq at 9:08 AM on May 27 [13 favorites]


Another lurker finally signing up for an account. I've considered it on and off for a long while, but hearing of the financial issues here was enough to motivate me into action.

I've made a one-time donation, and have set a reminder to do so again next year.
posted by gox3r at 11:59 AM on May 27 [12 favorites]


Can we have a bigger banner please?
Out of the top 20 ask.me commenters (including jessamyn) only 5 (including jessamyn) have participated in the fundraising efforts in one way or another (either by donating or by way of commenting in one of the threads). I can't believe that people who answer dozens of ask.mes on a daily basis would not be interested in this matter. The only logical thing is they didn't even see the banner. Please make it bigger.
posted by travelwithcats at 12:46 PM on May 27


We're still basically catching up on everything; talking about how to adjust the fundraising stuff for the long term is very much part of what we'll be talking about this week, I promise.

That all said, nobody is obliged to participate visibly in these discussions or in fundraising, and one of the important implications of the opt-out option for logged-in donations (and also the anonymity of logged-out ones) is that there's no way of publicly knowing that someone hasn't been contributed. I am feeling you on the Let's Do This Thing spirit but please take care not to frame it as a "I checked and persons x/y/z aren't doing their share!" thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:53 PM on May 27 [23 favorites]


The only logical thing is they didn't even see the banner.

Or maybe they just lost their job. Or they are on vacation. Or they just don't want to. It's not a requirement.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:58 PM on May 27 [9 favorites]


I get that, and it's not my intention to point fingers. Just hard to believe that people who are so vocal and invested in the site otherwise would be ignorant to this issue. I'd be more than happy if they opted for silent support. Fingers crossed!
posted by travelwithcats at 1:00 PM on May 27


The only logical thing is they didn't even see the banner.

Without putting too fine a point on it, there are many possible interpretations of people's decisions to not chip in and this very much shouldn't turn into some analysis of who did or did not decide that pitching in to the fundraiser was something that aligned with their own personal values system.

I hear where you are coming from, but there are many more possible completely internally consistent logical interpretations here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:05 PM on May 27 [7 favorites]


"there are many more possible completely internally consistent logical interpretations"

Sure there are. But I was constructing an argument and that was my premise.
posted by travelwithcats at 1:16 PM on May 27


It's really gross to judge whether or not people should contribute based on their activity. If you donated, be happy you could do so. Don't throw shade at people who don't.
posted by winna at 1:22 PM on May 27 [14 favorites]


"It's really gross to judge whether or not people should contribute based on their activity. If you donated, be happy you could do so. Don't throw shade at people who don't."

Apologies if you feel offended, winna.
posted by travelwithcats at 1:29 PM on May 27


Fingers crossed!

You can uncross your fingers now. There are definitely people who are monthly subscribers who have opted-out of the star message on their profile.

Even though I originally was against having a way to denote the paying members now I'm really glad that it's an optional message just so there's no way of knowing. I'm MetaFiltercus!
posted by Room 641-A at 1:30 PM on May 27 [4 favorites]


Nice little bit in The Guardian.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:17 PM on May 27 [16 favorites]


travelwithcats: "Apologies if you feel offended, winna."

Nice non-apology apology, there.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:20 PM on May 27 [10 favorites]


I'm not offended, even, just irritated that after a billion comment thread with the theme of 'please don't be a jerk and dun people like you're working for a collection agency' someone would do it.

But if it makes travelwithcats feel better, I'll go get some pearls and clutch them with all my might!
posted by winna at 2:38 PM on May 27 [10 favorites]


I have donationed. Alert all media!
posted by bitterkitten at 2:40 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


(and yay, MeFi is still going!)
posted by bitterkitten at 2:42 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


For the benefit of those keeping track, we're now at 1704 subscribers! It feels like 2500 is within reach in a month or two, even without a massive push - and I believe that would amount to around 50% of the current ad revenue. With a big thermometer-style push? Who knows.

Hopefully the numbers are good enough for the mods to breathe easily for a while - and even if the ad revenue completely drops off a cliff again, 50% from subscribers plus an annual pledge drive (plus maybe bigger site sponsorships) seem like they'd make up for the shortfall.
posted by adrianhon at 3:06 PM on May 27 [3 favorites]


Thanks Mathowie and the whole team for creating something that has been a huge part of my online life. Donation made!
posted by skylar at 4:56 PM on May 27 [3 favorites]


Just hard to believe that people who are so vocal and invested in the site otherwise would be ignorant to this issue.

Sounds to me like an opportunity to open your mind a little.
posted by carsonb at 5:06 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


15 years of built-up positive karma, coming home.

I was thinking the same thing.
Good folks here.


(In contrast to work today, where I had to deal with a very privileged and very unpleasant individual - bleah.)
posted by R. Mutt at 5:36 PM on May 27


Sure there are. But I was constructing an argument and that was my premise.

and it sucks.
posted by phearlez at 5:58 PM on May 27


The only thing that could possibly harsh the buzz of the incredible way that MeFites have come together to support the site is if we started pointing fingers. So let's not do that, because I'm enjoying the hell out of this.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:05 PM on May 27 [6 favorites]


Funny how that goes sometimes, I believe we are not at odds. I asked for a bigger banner so more people would be alerted to the fundraiser. Yet folks read things into my statements that I did not say. Anyway, let's let this be.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:15 PM on May 27


*hoists liter stein*

*sings half-remembered German folk song*
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:16 PM on May 27


*hoists aquavit*

*throws fishy fishy*

*bork bork bork*
posted by mudpuppie at 6:25 PM on May 27 [6 favorites]


In all of responses in these massive threads, I can think of three times when people started getting a little pissy. So, let's be cool, commend ourselves for good behavior, and stay relaxed.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:45 PM on May 27


♫ bei mir bist du schon
das kleine blau
ist meine schatzi
gerplank't mit ein fish
auf der pants ♫
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:53 PM on May 27 [17 favorites]


...aaand I am just now realizing that Matt's Medium essay superimposed the mods' faces on that Nighthawks background image. Nice.

edit: original image here
posted by Rhaomi at 12:58 AM on May 28 [11 favorites]


Metafilter is, without a doubt, the most important website on the Internet for me. I had no idea what I was in for when I signed up 13 years and 361 days ago. I was expecting a little light-hearted entertainment and lots of early tips on breaking web-related news. What I found was a deep, and thoughtful community that has supported me through difficult times, helped me make wise decisions and played an important role in my development into a better, more mature and considerate person.

I read Matt's original announcement thread from start to finish (for the definition of 'finish' that was true a couple of days ago), and I'll be honest, I teared up several times along the way.

I just finished reading this thread after having cancelled five subscriptions to different services I wasn't using - something I'd been meaning to do for a long time (7 or 8 years in the case of TypePad). I'll save a little more than $60/month once all of the cancellations go through, and I just diverted $25 of that to a monthly Metafilter subscription.

I'd like to thank everyone who's contributed to the success of this site - Matt, all of the awesome mods and each and every member who's pitched in to make this the unique island of sanity, sympathy, silliness and sage advice that it is.

I'm looking forward to the next 14 years with all of you wacky bean-plating, tater-loving nuts ;-)
posted by syzygy at 2:52 AM on May 28 [16 favorites]


That wasn't a very hard decision to make. Count me in! I've had Metafilter set as one of my must-view tabs within Chrome, for years now, and I am happy to donate monthly.

Long live metafilter!
posted by newfers at 5:41 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: "I hear where you are coming from, but there are many more possible completely internally consistent logical interpretations here."

That's exactly the kind of thing someone who was trying to conceal THE TRUTH would say.

PS: I know you are spending all the donation money on kittens, you cannot fool me
posted by scrump at 11:24 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]


syzygy: "I'm looking forward to the next 14 years with all of you wacky bean-plating, tater-loving nuts ;-)"

We love your nuts, too.
posted by scrump at 11:25 AM on May 28


There does not appear to be a feature, either on the MeFi page, or PayPal, that allows the selection of a certain date for monthly contributions.

I will need to wait until after the 1st of June to sign up for this, but sign up for this, I will. Otherwise, I will surely forget about the withdrawal, and that could be bad.

Could you guys make future crisis announcements earlier in any given month? Thanks!
posted by Danf at 12:43 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


Heh. We'll put that on the to-do list, sure.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:51 PM on May 28


Hmmm... I don't know German so well...*types "translate" into search bar*

with me you're already
the little blue
is my schatzi
gerplank't with a fish
on the pants


Translation is yet another thing the Goggles don't do as well as The Green.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:23 PM on May 28


Jumping to the bottom of this thread, but I just wanted to mention that as I never even paid the initial $5, I've always looked for opportunities to give back (more so when I still had a steady job, but anyway ...). I have long thought that if at some point user-funding the site became a thing, it would be neat to get a MeMail on my Metafilter Anniversary, which could serve as a reminder to consider an annual donation. I will probably be doing monthly payments anyway, but it's an idea for people who would rather do periodic lump sums (and it would spread out those donations over the course of the year somewhat, which might be beneficial). As the needed data would be pulled from profile pages (as with IRL reminders), anyone who is already donating monthly could get a thank-you for their continued support in their anniversary MeMail instead of an annual reminder.

I like getting MeMail, and I like it when I remember that it's my MeFiversary, so I feel that something along these lines could be both fun and helpful, and could possibly also obviate the need for periodic "pledge drives" (which I don't like so much, generally speaking) by reaching out in a more private and individual way.
posted by obloquy at 3:20 PM on May 28 [14 favorites]


It's a play on "Bei mir bist du schön" ("You're beautiful to me"), an American klezmer tune covered and popularized by the Andrews Sisters, with English lyrics except for the refrain. The album title has the spelling 'schön' (as in German), but the Andrews Sisters pronounce it 'sheyn' (as in Yiddish).
You're beautiful to me.
That blue thing
is my little treasure,
gerplank't with a fish
on the pants.
I'm pretty sure 'gerplank't' isn't a word in any of the the relevent languages.
posted by nangar at 4:08 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


fwiw:

schatzi = darling or sweetheart.
posted by Michele in California at 4:22 PM on May 28


A MeMail reminder on your MeFi Anniversary would be great even for those people who have recurring monthly payments set up as it might spur them to think about upping the donation--maybe they'd be in a position to go from $1 to $2 a month, or from $5 to $10. With 1700+ monthly subscribers this could add up.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:36 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


The check is in the mail. Thanks for having a non-paypal option!
posted by daikon at 4:49 PM on May 28


gerplank't with a fish
on the pants.
I'm pretty sure 'gerplank't' isn't a word in any of the the relevent languages.


I'm imagining in this instance, it's interchangeable with verklempt, whatever it is.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:26 PM on May 28


So, any new dollar numbers?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:30 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


I'll post a big update on Monday. So far, we're at about 10k per month in recurring revenue, which is fantastic and makes things a great deal more stable (that is close to what our deficits were running before).

The one-time donations are in the mid-30k range. I suspect by Monday of next week, we'll likely be around 50k total in donated for one-time + monthly.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:22 PM on May 28 [49 favorites]


As promised, my other $20 donation was just made.

I completely missed all of the music festival, but I'm OK with that. This is a much more fun source for hijinks and shenanigans.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:29 PM on May 28


Make that $10,003 per month.
posted by theredpen at 6:23 AM on May 29 [3 favorites]


Long overdue. Glad to have a chance to offer MeFi back some of the huge value* it provides me.

And while I'm here, you're all invited to check out the debut of my new electro-funk band, Auf Der Pants, this weekend.

*value=enormous time sink
posted by dry white toast at 9:06 AM on May 29 [1 favorite]


We just added Bitcoin as an option to the funding page. Matt set up an account at Coinbase and a test Bitcoin transfer worked perfectly.

Many people have donated via check—thank you! I'm going through them now trying to find usernames or user IDs if they're there.

We're still working on other PayPal alternatives and hope to have something ready to go next week.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:47 AM on May 29 [7 favorites]


So far, we're at about 10k per month in recurring revenue... The one-time donations are in the mid-30k range...

A day may come when the cashflow of Mefi fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. This day we fight!

By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! Mefites of the World!
posted by philipy at 10:04 AM on May 29 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to the non-Paypal alternative. If I keep this thread in my Recent Activity I assume you'll announce it here?
posted by benito.strauss at 10:58 AM on May 29


Join 2,779 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Dang it, make that number rounder, MeFites!
posted by Jpfed at 11:50 AM on May 29


We used PayPal, but I would be even happier with a non-PayPal alternative, as soon as one is available. Thanks for all of the mod team work on this.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:59 AM on May 29


A couple important questions that I haven't seen fully addressed here yet:

1) What if I don't want to be a dick to anyone about whether they give or not, but I *do* want cortex to whack me hard with a rolled up print-out?

2) At what level do we get image posting back? I think all of us could agree we'd find a way to up our donations for that.

Also I now plan to resurrect the bears vs. monkey debate in some forum here on MeFi, I feel that getting the chance to really hash that out for good is the least we deserve in exchange for our funds if we don't get the above.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:07 PM on May 29


OK, on a serious note, here's something I recently realized. After I gave.

I gave because I think that MetaFilter is a great thing and is really what it strives to be, the BotW. And it will continue to be that, with our support, and this is a good thing.

And, I'm willing to give my time and professional services if they can be of use, and I think many other skilled members here would contribute the same, and I've told Matt as much. That may in the end be more valuable than my money.

But what I didn't realize is that I gave because MF became, in a weird way, a very real part of my life. MF became a place that I made friends, and then it became a place that I lost friends, in 2 particular cases to untimely expiration. And then it became a place where people cared for and about me when I had lost those friends. And then it became a place that I could offer that same care to others who have lost.

MF encouraged me to write more, and more creatively. MF answered questions that I couldn't figure out on my own with Google. MF has at times been an avenue through which I could help others, and is still that. MF houses many of the stories of my life that I don't personally have blogged yet. I can literally go through my user history and read much of it like a diary I didn't realize I was writing at the time.

MF has educated me on an endless, evolving set of topics. It has made both my daily interactions and on a larger scale my entire life more interesting, and perhaps has even made me a more interesting bloke myself. Or maybe it's just bloated my head a bit.

MF has helped me grow and change in my political and spiritual views and beliefs. You people helped me escape some of the bigoted, hateful ways in which I was raised as a child and see more clearly what being a good person to those around you really means. And just maybe you are all good enough to keep working on me with where I am at now. MF has reorganized my thinking processes, it might literally have had an impact on changing the way my brain works.

I will keep funding MF because it is a net positive in my life, even if it is imperfect because it is filled with imperfect people. I don't like you all, but I do love you, because without you there wouldn't be MFing MF.

tl;dr - thanks.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:17 PM on May 29 [24 favorites]


A day may come when the cashflow of Mefi fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. This day we fight!

Aw, that's nothing new. We're always fighting about one thing or another.
posted by aubilenon at 5:41 PM on May 29 [2 favorites]


Besides echoing what allkindsoftime wrote, the other thing I didn't realize until I gave is how good it would actually feel. Now, when I log in, I don't feel so much like a random detached person out in internet-land reading a screen. The first two or three times I logged in, I actually thought "I'm helping make this place possible." Of course, I provide an infinitesimal fraction of what makes this place possible, and I don't judge anyone who can't give (I've been there). But for me this month, it has felt good to know I'm not just ...enjoying this place, but actually getting to play a more active role as a small part of a large group of people pooling together to help this place be as good as possible. It's like showing up at someone's house for a BBQ with a party platter or a case of beer instead of coming empty handed; you feel a little less like "hope I'm not intruding" and a little more like "let's have some fun!"

It's a funny feeling because God knows I don't feel that way about, say, Netflix. So I also want to voice my appreciation for the we-don't-expect-anything...oh-hey-look...okay-sure-give-what-you-can,-we'll-set-up-a-donation-page way that this whole thing evolved. I never felt pressured to give (and I hope nobody else does either), so when I got around to signing up, I was doing it entirely because I wanted to help, and I was helping at a (very modest) level that felt right to me at this time. So thank you to the mods, the early givers, all the people who defended people's right to give at whatever level they want to (even be that nothing), and everyone else whose leadership caused the donation thing to evolve the way it did. What a cool group of people are involved here. I could see a corporation doing something evil like shutting MetaFilter down entirely or another group of users embracing peer pressure as a strategy, or ten other ways this turning point could have been terrible instead of something that (hopefully, knock on wood) strengthens the site over the long-term.

I hope those who are most impacted by this -- the mods who are staying and the mods who are leaving -- are hanging in there. This must be adding stress, work, uncertainty, or just an unexpected twist at the end of what may have been many months full of stress, uncertainty, and unexpected twists. I hope these funds give MetaFilter the flexibility to manage the transition in a way that works out okay for everyone.

tl;dr - yes, thanks very much.
posted by salvia at 7:17 PM on May 29 [11 favorites]


I have crushes on so many of you all right now I could open a quarry.
posted by Kerasia at 3:52 AM on May 30 [6 favorites]


The grand sponsenating enspousening?
posted by infini at 3:59 AM on May 30


We're due for another enspousening. The 5 year anniversary of The Great Enspousening is coming up.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:31 AM on May 30


I have crushes on so many of you all right now I could open a quarry.

You're so industrious. That many crushes just makes me want some oranges, triple sec, and vodka.
posted by phearlez at 8:33 AM on May 30 [5 favorites]


Traditional fifth anniversary gift material is... wood.
posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on May 30 [3 favorites]


Ain't no spousing like a great enspousing
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 AM on May 30


The spouse must flow.
posted by flabdablet at 9:44 AM on May 30 [6 favorites]


Of course, I provide an infinitesimal fraction of what makes this place possible


And that's a Good Thing. It is better for the site to not be overly dependent on one source of income and it is also better for the site to not be overly influenced by any one member. (I mean, being overly dependent on AdSense money is apparently what created this crisis. Hello!)


I have been the big fish in the little pond on other forums and it was miserable. It has been much, much better for me to be the grain of sand in the mountain of sand of larger sites like this one. I think it is better for both me and for the sites themselves.
posted by Michele in California at 10:00 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


You're so industrious. That many crushes just makes me want some oranges, triple sec, and vodka.

I'm with you, phearlez. That many crushes made me start pricing Napa farmland and grapevine nursery stock.
posted by salvia at 10:23 AM on May 30


Just one word: Olives
posted by infini at 10:31 AM on May 30


I have crushes on so many of you all right now I could open a quarry.

We love making you gravel.
posted by jamjam at 1:05 PM on May 30 [8 favorites]


Traditional fifth anniversary gift material is... wood.

You have to wait five years for that?
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:38 PM on May 30 [9 favorites]


Check mailed! Sorry it took me so long.

It should be easy for me to remember to do this yearly as it's very close to my birthday. Metafilter will be my birthday present to myself for as long as you guys keep making it happen.

Many thanks!
posted by blurker at 5:29 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


I've been crazy busy at work and haven't checked MF in a couple of weeks. I log on today, and was horrified at the thought of Metafilter ever going away. I've officially joined the list of monthly subscribers. How many is it now?
posted by 8dot3 at 7:29 AM on June 2 [1 favorite]


You can see the count on the donation page. As of this moment: 1,866 subscribers; 1,055 one timers. Plus an unknown number of people via check.

Matt has promised a detailed update today on status.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:23 AM on June 2


Since we got no update, I can only assume Matt is too busy counting his fortune and laughing maniacally.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:26 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


The update is in a new metatalk thread.
posted by jamaro at 10:27 PM on June 2


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