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MeFi State of the Update
August 5, 2014 5:23 PM   Subscribe

After a couple months of fundraising and general money belt-tightening and Google up and downing, I wanted to give an update.

The fundraising has gone spectacularly well, we are at about $10k/month in recurring donations along with the one-time donations (at nearly $50k) that are sitting in the corporate account as a buffer.

PayPal has been weird as of late (as expected). Of the 2,150 donating, chances are some credit cards would expire at some point after the initial setup and it seems like that has been the case for a few dozen people. Oddly, PayPal sometimes just "skips" a payment and tries again later, and eventually cancels payments when enough failures happen back to back. Strangely, PayPal sometimes sends people that donated an email saying "MetaFilter has canceled your payments" which is oddly worded and weird and doesn't help anyone solve the problem of an out-of-date credit card that is usually the case. If you've gotten any weird emails from PayPal, know that I didn't personally refuse anyone's money and didn't actively cancel anything, but PayPal ran into trouble charging you and it is likely a credit card issue or PayPal balance issue of some sort.

On the positive side, goodnewsfortheinsane will be coming back on for two days a week instead of just one day, giving taz a much needed break in the form of a real weekend again. LobsterMitten will continue to sporadically fill in from time to time when we take vacation times off.

Google-wise, things are looking slightly up, traffic is up to the site (though not quite at old levels seen before the 2012 downturn) and revenue is up slightly, but still inconsistent from week to week, but in general is trending to better places. Nothing substantial has occurred to instantly put us back to older levels, we're still at a place that is a fraction of the old revenue numbers, but it's still a bit better than it was at the lowest point.

Overall, the streamlined staff and scheduling are working well and keeping our costs down low. We're working on a bunch of new things coming down the pipe that should hopefully help with traffic and Google and possibly improve revenue, and as always thanks to everyone that has supported the site and continues to help make it great. The future looks pretty good for MetaFilter, as things stand now, and I wanted to update everyone and keep you all in the loop.
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 5:23 PM (113 comments total) 123 users marked this as a favorite

Yay! Thanks for the update.
posted by octothorpe at 5:27 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


This is fantastic news. Thanks, matt, for keeping us in the loop.

I get a little pleased feeling whenever I see my star on my profile. I helped!
posted by winna at 5:28 PM on August 5


Everyone needs a hug.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:29 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Nice to hear.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:29 PM on August 5


Thanks for the update.

It's great to know we're out of crisis mode! Also in addition to liking good news, I am totally fascinated by the nitty-gritty details of stuff like this. Actually, it's been around forever, and I kind of take it for granted, but you know what? Thanks a ton for making MetaTalk exist at all.
posted by aubilenon at 5:32 PM on August 5 [24 favorites]


I can't find it just now, but I recently saw an article about Paypal having some kind of bug that went unnoticed for like nine days. I have no idea if this is at all related to any issues you are experiencing but I thought I would mention it as an FYI.

Thanks for the update.
posted by Michele in California at 5:39 PM on August 5


That's pretty spectacular, and a testament to how good Metafilter continues to be and how much people love it. As ever, it continues to be an inspiration to me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:39 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Thanks very much for this, and I'm really glad things are going so well.
posted by languagehat at 5:42 PM on August 5


Good news indeed. What about the plans to move the "help support" message from the tiny print at the top (which I have never opted to hide - it now shows 3,451 'readers')?

And additional revenue streams ... when will the next wave of t-shirts be coming? (If it's a matter of the staff not having time, you can definitely trust some of the process to volunteers... like I already am)
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:43 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Yay! *Kermit wave*
posted by arcticseal at 5:44 PM on August 5 [14 favorites]


Does this mean we all party now? Because I've got the needle hovering over some party grooves.
posted by Kattullus at 5:45 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the update Matt. Really glad things are stabilized.
posted by Kwine at 5:47 PM on August 5


Really great news, Matt -- so glad to hear things are stabilizing.
posted by scody at 5:51 PM on August 5


What about the plans to move the "help support" message from the tiny print at the top

We might move it down to the footer, I was thinking a sidebar type call-out would work but in some quick testing it didn't look right there.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:54 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Glad to hear taz will get real weekends and that we will have gnfti and occasionally LM around modding it up. Thanks for telling us about how things are shaking out. Keep us posted if you can.
posted by sockermom at 5:57 PM on August 5


[+]
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:58 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


I swear to god I first read "general belt-tightening" as "general money-laundering" and while that was amusing to consider I'm glad it's not at that point. That said, if you need a little help with anything, I know a guy...
posted by quaking fajita at 6:18 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Good to know and better that the news is good. I hope the trend continues!
posted by leslies at 6:20 PM on August 5


While we're on the subject of revenue, Metafilter could probably increase ad revenue and subscription rates by coming out with a mobile app version of the site.

You mentioned in a previous thread that one of the reasons for the drop off in ad revenue is that an increasing amount of the traffic to MeFi is mobile. Well, I visited MeFi on my iPhone, logged out, and checked out the non-member experience. The ads are really lousy. They aren't placed well, they are hard to read. Most of the time there is no ad on the screen.

A mobile app version would put the ads in a cute little banner across the bottom of the screen, always there (for non-members, at least) in their well-known position. In addition, if you wanted you could offer site memberships through an in-app purchase.

There could certainly be cons as well as pros to this. Depending on how its done, it could bring in a new audience, the design of the user experience could change how people use the site, etc. But the basic part of it --- having mobile ads that are designed as mobile ads --- would seem like a pretty straightforward positive.

I know the idea of a MeFi app has been kicking around for a while, but I'm not sure if the revenue angle has been part of that conversation.
posted by alms at 6:34 PM on August 5 [36 favorites]


p.s. great news, and thanks for the update!
posted by alms at 6:34 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


w00t!

I like watching the numbers increment on "Join 3,452 readers in helping fund MetaFilter." I would like it if it said n readers have helped fund MetaFilter since your last visit, with the total, as well, because it gives me some cheer to see that we can/ could do this.
posted by theora55 at 6:39 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


Last week I Googled something and AskMe came up as one of the very top hits. I don't remember exactly what it was -- and probably wouldn't say anyway, because I'm pretty sure it would be embarrassing -- but it a) gave me a surge of pride (because this is my place) and hope (because Google is maybe getting better?), and b) made me feel like my problem (whatever it was!) wasn't so weird after all, because at least one other person here had gone through the same thing.

So yay, and thanks.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:59 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


We might move it down to the footer, I was thinking a sidebar type call-out would work but in some quick testing it didn't look right there.

Matt, please don't move it. The needle is still trending upward. Leave it alone.
posted by anastasiav at 7:05 PM on August 5 [55 favorites]


If you find mobile ad revenue is significant enough to pursue, you can take a huge shortcut to ads designed for mobile. Just put an ad banner at the top of the mobile site instead of building a set of native apps.
posted by ignignokt at 7:36 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


I'm among the people who got "unsubscribed" by paypal. In my case, I was using an expired CC# with backup funding from a checking account. Even though the backup funding would go through everytime, I guess paypal just got irritated with the whole deal. I figured that Mathowie didn't really personally cancel my payment.
posted by jepler at 7:46 PM on August 5


Given my inherent distrust of Paypal, I chose to give a lump sum with the intention of doing it again every 6 months and so on until I quit the internet. The header reminds me to check the date and keep to my own guilt and pledgedrive-free stream until November. In short, I haven't hid the header, so please don't take it away until i'm locked in and memory stabilized.
Alternatively, and I may be in a hideous minority here, but I would not at all mind a memail 6 months from the first pledge that says "hey, you did this 6 months ago... care to do it again?"
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:49 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


WHy not just set yourself a gmail or similar calendar reminder? Mine sends me txt msgs, no idea how, but they arrive and I'm like OH I SHOULD DO THIS THING.
posted by elizardbits at 7:55 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this, Matt. I had actually been about to do a MeTa request for an update.

Has there been any progress on non-PayPal alternatives? I don't mind PayPal, but I know that is a sticking point for some folks.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:10 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Great update! Glad goodnewsfortheinsane will be increasing days.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:13 PM on August 5


Yes, I was hoping to hear about a non-Paypal alternative. I'd only consider doing a one-time payment through Paypal.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 8:27 PM on August 5


Now that the crisis has lessened considerably, I would like to bring up this little business of the mugs again. Because MeFi mugs.
posted by Glinn at 8:44 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


We explored some non-PayPal alternatives but couldn't find any that would work for us. Some required us to build our own customer management system which we don't have the resources for. Others simply didn't work technically. Others took a good chunk of the money for themselves. After spending time looking at quite a few we found that PayPal really is the lesser of all evils—despite their evil.

A good number of people send checks. Many banks have a service where you fill out the details online and they print the check and send it. We get a lot of those and we also get some hand-written checks. So you can still route around PayPal.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:02 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


That's all good news. Thanks for the update!
posted by immlass at 9:02 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Something has definitely shifted with google. There was a while (the revenue collapse period, I guess) when a google search very rarely produced a metafilter result. Now, it's again popping up. I'm sure they will never admit fault, but they fixed something and there are improvements.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:42 PM on August 5


What was the technical problem with Stripe? That seems to be the cool kids' payment system these days
posted by curuinor at 9:43 PM on August 5


Your bank or credit union most likely has a service for paying bills. Just supply the information on the funding page, and it'll send a check for you each and every month. Easy as paypal and none of the uuugggghhh of paypal.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:47 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


What was the technical problem with Stripe?

I don't want to turn this thread into disparaging PayPal alternatives. I'll just say that I think setting up a one-time payment with Stripe would be a snap. Setting up recurring payments with Stripe was not a snap.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:48 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Now that the crisis has lessened considerably, I would like to bring up this little business of the mugs again. Because MeFi mugs.

MugFi?

Actually, I recall someone suggesting 'Everyone needs a mug'.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:57 PM on August 5 [20 favorites]


Thanks for the update, Matt. This is good to know.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:57 PM on August 5


Could you create an app called "MetaFilter Extract" or "MetaFilter Express" or something like that for mobile phones? This would have the "highlights" of the site for people who work 9-5 jobs and cannot catch all the great comments / threads / discussions / jokes.

You could charge a small fee for the app. There is so much going on at this site that you really cannot catch it all. I don't own a mobile phone so I'm guessing this would be useful for people with phones, who are on a journey and just want some good reading for the train/bus or whatever.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:12 PM on August 5


I read MeFi on my phone all the time with no difficulties (that aren't caused by my crappy phone).

Is there a specific reason why other people think that mobile version of the site is no good?

How would an app help?

Could you create an app called "MetaFilter Extract" or "MetaFilter Express" or something like that for mobile phones?


Isn't the Best of MeFi blog exactly this?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:31 PM on August 5


The Mefi mobile site crashes on longboat threads, and adding comments is kind of a pain. Also you can't post FPPs/questions/etc via Mefi mobile, unless you set it to Standard Site.
posted by divabat at 10:35 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Long threads crash on anything that's underpowered, phone or computer, it has nothing to do with the mobile site. Everything loads just fine on my phone and it's a couple of years old. An app won't change this. I agree that adding comments is a pain but that's because of the phone interface, nothing to do with mefi and won't be changed by an app. Being able to make posts takes a few extra second to turn on the desktop version (on most phone systems anyway) and altering that won't increase ad revenue.

Which is the actual reason why people are suggesting a mobile app here, as a way of increasing advertising exposure and thus revenue because that's how so many people use the web these days. I don't know if that would work, I run an ad blocker on all my devices and surf logged in so I'm not the target audience anyway.
posted by shelleycat at 11:14 PM on August 5


There are no plans to do a mobile specific app. I explored this a couple times with different developers, and in the end, all we got was basically the same thing you see on the mobile web view. iOS development is also a massive expense, since neither me, nor cortex, nor pb code in Objective-C for fun.

Also, iAds from Apple are mostly terrible, and even though the ads aren't that great for iPhones with adsense, they're at least within the bounds of the subject matter of a page. I think going with a nice web view of the site is the way to go, no need to have parallel development of a mobile-only app and we can have feature parity between the desktop and mobile versions much easier.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:34 PM on August 5 [18 favorites]


I haven't really used MeFi without authenticating since I signed up, but at least the logged-in mobile experience strikes me as really good. Especially now that the [+] is further from the [!]. Maybe it could use a little layout work for display-with-ads, but I don't think there's a whole lot that needs to change.

Also, death to apps as boxed up versions of web sites.
posted by brennen at 11:39 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Being able to make posts takes a few extra second to turn on the desktop version (on most phone systems anyway)

If you bookmark the New Post link in your phone browser, you can do your post within the mobile interface - the mobile version of the New Post page. It's much easier to use than switching to the desktop version of the site and then zooming in and around the desktop version of the New Post page.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 12:19 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Does this mean we all party now? Because I've got the needle hovering over some party grooves.

Is that what the drug addicts call veins nowadays?
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:21 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the update! I've seen a couple of payments go out and it's literally the only thing on my statement that gives me a little feeling of joy, rather than my usual bitter weeping. Glad gnfti is getting an extra day and taz is getting her weekends back!

Also thanks a million paleyellowwithorange - I didn't know you could post from the mobile view, and desktop view on the phone is just too tiny. pb is there a reason there isn't a "new post" button on mobile view? Again it might be useful in terms of more site traffic using mobile devices.
posted by billiebee at 12:29 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


smock smock smock!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:35 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


pb is there a reason there isn't a "new post" button on mobile view?

Yes, this is a conscious choice we have made. We'd prefer people post from a desktop. We want the bar to be slightly higher for adding a post because they're critical for starting conversations. Broken links, HTML errors, and some of the common problems that plague small screen use have a larger impact in posts vs. comments. We don't block mobile devices from posting. We also don't encourage quick, easy posting on mobile devices either.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:45 AM on August 6 [24 favorites]


pb: my Android tablet functions as my main computer nowadays, and I'm not entirely alone in this. Maybe reconsider for those of us who primarily use tablets (and would be considered "mobile")?
posted by divabat at 12:53 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's definitely something we're always thinking about. We'll count this as a vote for easier access to posting from the mobile version.

As mentioned, a bookmark is a good way for quick access to posting right now. Switching to the standard theme, getting to where you need to go, and then switching back is always an option too.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:01 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


So does it look like we'll get our Christmas bonuses this year, Matt? I've been really ratcheting down my spending for the good of the organization, but I'd like to do something nice for the kids this year. No big deal if you can't tell me right now, I'm just happy to have a place here, what with the economy and all.

You guys are doing a great job.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:15 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


I never read MeFi on anything but mobile anymore, just as a data point.
posted by spitbull at 2:56 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Well done everybody for pulling together and working so hard on this, from our Beloved Leader, Programming Boy*, Team Mod, and all the way down to, well, me!

*sorry!
posted by marienbad at 3:31 AM on August 6


Thanks for the update!
posted by travelwithcats at 4:16 AM on August 6


I mostly view Mefi on mobile and I'm 100% against a mobile app and wouldn't use it if it existed. Mefi is a webpage, not an app, and you should just concentrate on making the mobile page as good as it can be.
posted by octothorpe at 4:25 AM on August 6 [9 favorites]


Mobile phone / tablet reader here when I'm not slacking temporarily between urgencies at one of my day or night jobs.

Just say nyet to mobile applications!

*but add blockquote to the mobile experience pluhleeeze
posted by tilde at 5:49 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Slarty Bartfast: I'd like to do something nice for the kids this year

Jelly of the Month Club is the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

Seriously, though, thanks for the update, Matt. I really appreciate it.

I'll take this opportunity to renew my offer to remind people to make a yearly donation on or about Moderator's Day (June 13) every year. Just send me a MeMail.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:09 AM on August 6


Thanks for the update Matt. I had intended to donate back when it was first available and failed due to forgetfulness on my part. Even with the (non hidden) banner about donating I still managed to scatter brain this long.

I know I'm not alone when I say I easily get 5 dollars worth of vaule out of this site Monthly(hell, I get 5 bucks weekly). I've paid far more for something I ended up using less.

So it is with great pride I give something back to this fine establishment.

Thanks for the hard work to all the staff. You do these fine internets a services.
posted by Twain Device at 6:13 AM on August 6


Slarty Bartfast: I'd like to do something nice for the kids this year

Good talk, mathowie
posted by gorbichov at 6:30 AM on August 6


Thank you for the update! Every time I get a PayPal reminder of my recurring payment, it makes me smile, which absolutely doesn't happen for any of my other bills.
posted by xingcat at 6:46 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Thank you for the post!
posted by cashman at 7:12 AM on August 6


Also yay Jessamyn, and all that. There cannot be a meta post about the state of the site without a yay Jessamyn reminder
posted by Namlit at 7:37 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]


I was wondering how things were going! I've noticed AskMeFi popping up in Google searches again, which I figured had to be a good sign.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:14 AM on August 6


Matt, thank you for this update. I do dearly love this site and all these crazy people, and it's nice to know that you have pulled out of the dive. :7)

elizardbits: WHy not just set yourself a gmail or similar calendar reminder?

Well, because Matt could actually hold up the tote bag and mug for the camera, and explain how nice they are, and then show a picture of the hostages…

Seriously, though, a gentle reminder coming from Matt would allow MeFi, Inc., to explain what they did with your contribution over the previous six moths, and then drop some site statistics on us, and then remind he recipient that they had given before. And if it's opt-in when you donate, it really shouldn't be an irritant.

Someday they could even add a little frisson of guilt by including each recipient's own statistics: "In the past six months you made 67 comments, contributed three FPPs, and asked 23 questions -- which garnered 126 favorites and 64 AskMe answers. Please consider a contribution to support MetaFilter for the next half-year."
posted by wenestvedt at 8:50 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Someday they could even add a little frisson of guilt by including each recipient's own statistics

I both get this as a personalizing angle and even notionally sort of a fun connection-making thing, but I also have misgivings about it because it has the potential to make people feel weird from more than one direction—oh shit I'm spending too much time on Metafilter, oh shit I'm not contributing to Metafilter, oh weird are they guilting me about doing too little/too much, oh jeez I don't even use this site do I, etc. etc. I think it's trickier in practice than it sounds like on paper.

posted by cortex (staff) at 8:55 AM on August 6 [10 favorites]


wenestvedt: "Well, because Matt could actually hold up the tote bag and mug for the camera, and explain how nice they are, and then show a picture of the hostages…"

MST3K Poopie Parade of Values.

posted by Chrysostom at 8:59 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the update! It's nice to get an update on SOMETHING that doesn't make me immediately start grumbling.
posted by wintersweet at 9:29 AM on August 6


I would absolutely love a mefi app on my android that notified me of memail, and anything else i wanted, like post replies or whatever.
posted by Mistress at 9:31 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


What was the technical problem with Stripe?

Oh, come on, everyone knows Stripe is evil.*









* I do not represent the good folks at MeFi. My sense of humor is my own. Also, I have already been to hell so quit wishing that on me. K? Thx.
posted by Michele in California at 9:33 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad that we are all still here. Thanks everyone. ♥
posted by Lynsey at 9:42 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


Great!

My easy suggestion for extra revenue: charge for extra Ask questions beyond 1/week. $2.99 for an extra Ask question, say.

You could put extensive limits of all kinds on there (say, a max of one more a week) or tweak prices -- but I would definitely use that feature at times.
posted by shivohum at 10:13 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


cortex: I think it's trickier in practice than it sounds like on paper.

Yeah, I hear you: it could come across as creepy from a few angles. :7)

Myself, I wouldn't mind seeing data sliced into week/month/year tranches like that. I wonder if you could offer it as an optional tote bag-esque perk for subscribers… Or is it readily available now, and am just too lazy to dig it up?

/derail

posted by wenestvedt at 11:00 AM on August 6


shivohum: "You could put extensive limits of all kinds on there (say, a max of one more a week) or tweak prices -- but I would definitely use that feature at times."

This sort of thing came up in the original threads. I think the consensus was that community opinion was strongly against any sort of tiered membership or benefits to donating - there was a big argument over the single line on people's user pages - so I think paying for more Asks would fall into the same category.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:06 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


Yeah, to be clear, we will never ever selectively crank down on what people are normally permitted to do based on a failure to cough up cash. It's not even a non-starter, it's an object fundamentally unlike the sort of object that could be imagined under other circumstances to be capable of being started. It is a boulder in the engine compartment of a broken-down truck. The fuel line cannot be attached to anything. There are no valves. Someone tried to write "carburetor" on it with crayon but the wax wouldn't stick.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:36 AM on August 6 [28 favorites]


Yeah, to be clear, we will never ever selectively crank down on what people are normally permitted to do based on a failure to cough up cash.

Except... with respect to membership itself.
posted by shivohum at 11:39 AM on August 6


I did a search for something on the googles yesterday and the top result was from Ask Metafilter. I hope this means you guys are back in google's good books.
posted by Hoopo at 11:51 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


we will never ever selectively crank down on what people are normally permitted to do based on a failure to cough up cash

Ah but can non-contributors get the "★ I help fund MetaFilter!" thing on their profile?

IT'S ALREADY STARTED WE'RE ALL DOOMED EVERYBODY RUN BACK AND FORTH LIKE SMURFS WHEN GARGAMEL VISITS!!!
posted by aubilenon at 11:53 AM on August 6


Except... with respect to membership itself.

I am not sure I understand you. We haven't taken anyone's existing membership away after the fact for a failure to cough up cash.

If you're speaking more generally to the idea that we charge for accounts in the first place, that's something we've always been happy to route around for someone if it's a hardship issue. Basically one email to any of us is the price of entry for someone who really wants to be on Metafilter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:13 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Except... with respect to membership itself.

I am homeless. My membership was a gift from someone who felt the community support might be meaningful for me. And it has been. As part of the "fundraiser"*, some folks offered to finance more gift memberships. The fee is essentially nominal and it is just a means to cut back on trolling, spamming, etc.



* I wrote elsewhere that "it isn't really a fundraiser when everyone is saying shut up and take our money and you politely accommodate them" but I don't know what else to call it, really.
posted by Michele in California at 12:14 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Apropos of nothing... I got a little kick seeing that 3,456 readers have kicked in money. I also get a little kick when I notice that the timer on a film is at 1:23:45.
posted by Kattullus at 12:15 PM on August 6 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I am pretty darn sure that the star link is in the original post and you can add it if you want to whether or not you donated, I suppose. No one is checking to make sure the people who add it from that link are doing it in good faith.
posted by sockermom at 12:37 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the update Matt. Glad to see things are at least leveling out.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:07 PM on August 6


Thanks for the update. So far at least, Paypal seems happy to send you my money; but if they ever do decide to cancel me, don't worry: I'll just switch to the old-fashioned Write Matt A Paper Check method --- one way or another, I'm sending in my share.

That said, I'm still voting for MeFi totebags. I can't stand most T-shirts (as a short female, I choke in crewnecks, and shirts designed for guys are too tight on my boobs while also being too long overall --- is it a shirt or a dress?!?); mugs are nice, but gee wiz I've got a ton of mugs I never use. Sell me a totebag, and you'll get lots of free publicity because I'd use it near daily.
posted by easily confused at 2:20 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


I am not sure I understand you. We haven't taken anyone's existing membership away after the fact for a failure to cough up cash.

Oh ok sorry, I think I misread you as saying increased privileges for people who pay something extra were absolutely against mefi philosophy, when you were only talking about ratcheting down existing privileges for not paying.
posted by shivohum at 2:25 PM on August 6


I find myself wondering if there should be a MeTa re the things people are saying here about products. A MeTa devoted to gathering together previous suggestions for possible pithy sayings (Everybody needs a mug et al) and maybe just offering a space in which people could state what they are interested in ("I want a mug", "I want a totebag") and let people toss out designs. And maybe that would be a way to casually crowdsource some work on developing a product line that wouldn't take too much extra time and effort from the current time-stressed staff that might lead to MeFi doing monetization via product sales a bit better. And, hey, we could generally try to pool the wisdom of MeFi as to not only what products work better but why they work better.

I know there was some spontaneous brainstorming in chat around the time of the funding crisis discussions but, as far as I know, none of those ideas and efforts got really captured in a way that might lead to money somewhere down the road for MeFi. And I think it would be kind of a shame if that stuff never got captured and turned into some kind of monetization.
posted by Michele in California at 2:28 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


What "increased privileges" are you pointing to, shivohum? Somebody pays the $5 (or emails one of the mods to explain why paying $5 would be a hardship) and they're a member with all the same privileges as any other member. Nobody's getting additional perks for having donated to the fundraiser, and nobody's getting anything yanked for not having donated.

Your comments seem as though you're implying unsavory behavior on behalf of the mods and management. If that's not what you mean, you might want to explain more fully what you are saying.
posted by Lexica at 2:32 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


I'm going to use this space to mention that taz is my favorite mod here (based on personal interactions both pre and post modding) and it seems like she's received more shit from the userbase than any other mod, though this very well could have changed since I don't read Metatalk nearly as much as I once did. This doesn't mean that I dislike any of the other mods, just that in my completely biased opinion it's good thing for the site to have her around. She deserves the lighter workload and I'm happy that she survived the scaling down.
posted by item at 3:34 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


I'm going to use this space to mention that jessamyn, LobsterMitten, cortex, and gnfti are my favorite mods here.
posted by grouse at 4:03 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


All the mods are my favorite mods.

Join 3,456 readers in helping fund MetaFilter

This number makes me happy. (3,333 was another nice one, a while ago.)
posted by ocherdraco at 4:06 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


[...] which garnered 126 favorites [...]

"You received 126 favorites this month. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to them..."


No?
posted by FishBike at 5:33 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


What "increased privileges" are you pointing to, shivohum? Somebody pays the $5 (or emails one of the mods to explain why paying $5 would be a hardship) and they're a member with all the same privileges as any other member. Nobody's getting additional perks for having donated to the fundraiser, and nobody's getting anything yanked for not having donated.

I'm not trying to imply unsavory behavior. I was simply trying to point out that an initial membership fee (even if it can technically be waived) typically delineates an increased level of privileges: there is a difference between members and non-members. So I was suggesting that having other privileges available for a price might not be so without precedent, basically. Of course cortex then talked about dialing down current privileges as a nonstarter, whereas I am talking about dialing them up.
posted by shivohum at 7:29 PM on August 6


I say we merge this thread with the AWESOME current mefi Purse thread and get some handcrafted, corinithean leather/vegan/nyoprene Designer handbags...

I'd buy one, but we have to do one in aubergine....
posted by pearlybob at 7:34 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


shivohum, I understand where my confusion was now. I misread this:

You could put extensive limits of all kinds on there (say, a max of one more a week) or tweak prices

as "a max of more than one week" as in e.g. upping the default time between questions to two weeks or something and then charging back down to the current rate or faster. Total misparse on end, sorry about responding in detail to what you weren't actually saying there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:43 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


(I mean, to be clear, I'm pretty bearish on even the idea of pay-for-alacarte-features thing too, but that's more of a strong "I don't see us doing that" feeling thing than the absolutely-not-over-my-dead-body notion of ratcheting down any of the existing user functionality on any kind of ala carte basis.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:47 PM on August 6


Upgrade now, and for the low low price of $14 a month, you can have your own personalizable kill file!
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:03 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


There are no plans to do a mobile specific app. I explored this a couple times with different developers, and in the end, all we got was basically the same thing you see on the mobile web view.

Yeh, but there are aspects of this that mobile apps do better – persistence of state, performance and animation being pretty high on my personal list. Heck - just say you're doing it in Swift and you'll have a dozen iOS devs lined up to do it for free (myself included).
posted by ~ at 8:51 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Great news mathowie!
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:46 AM on August 7


Um, hands off Taz, item. I'm Australian and so she's my time zone mod. And my own personal mod because I need a lot of modding. I adore her. She's so patient and calm.

And I'm a youngest child so I don't share. So, yeah. Taz is mine. All mine. Mwahahaha.
posted by taff at 6:33 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


I was simply trying to point out that an initial membership fee (even if it can technically be waived) typically delineates an increased level of privileges: there is a difference between members and non-members.

Just making sure you're aware that anyone who asks for a free account gets one, or used to and probably still does.

Happy to hear the rest of this news. I'd been wondering after reading this.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:48 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


I'd been wondering after reading this.

Anyone making odds that deep in the google code there is a line reading something like
if site == "metafilter" { /* hack to shut them up */
...}

posted by shothotbot at 12:35 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Matt, I am curious as to roughly how many checks came in. 10? 100?
posted by shothotbot at 12:37 PM on August 7


After the initial wave we had 28 checks. Since then we've probably had that many again. So maybe around 60 or so? Matt said there are 10 people or so who send them monthly.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:00 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Membership tiers:
Beansaucer: $5
Beanplate: $20 (enable professional white one-time for all your browsers)
Beanplatter: $100 (your first post ghostwritten)
Beanboard: HIPAA-compliant edit window. Contact a live agent for enterprise pricing!
posted by michaelh at 3:48 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Google announced that they are giving sites that are using https higher search ranks than sites that aren't (ironically announced on a site that doesn't use https).
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:45 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Interesting, Hatecraft, thanks for the link.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:01 PM on August 8


jessamyn: "Happy to hear the rest of this news. I'd been wondering after reading this."

I just found that piece myself and it makes me so glad to see. I'm almost tempted to call out Matt for understating the good news here -- while I'm sure the behind-the-scenes finances don't perfectly track with the traffic stats, seeing that staggering downslope suddenly lurch upward 34% to the pre-crash heights of late 2012 is an incredible relief.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:40 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the update.

So, when will you continue with your Orphan Black FanFare posts ? :-)
posted by Pendragon at 3:09 AM on August 12


Um, hands off Taz, item. I'm Australian and so she's my time zone mod. And my own personal mod because I need a lot of modding. I adore her. She's so patient and calm.
She's also in my time zone and there's no way you get her to yourself! I don't mind sharing a little, but do demand the larger half of her attention!
posted by dg at 7:14 PM on August 23


Soz. No can share. I'm totes inapprope, mate.
posted by taff at 9:24 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Can you repeat that in English (Either Queen's or Australian, preferably)?. I'm afraid I don't speak faux-teenager.
posted by dg at 8:55 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Nope.
posted by taff at 9:02 PM on August 24 [2 favorites]


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