What made you pay? (the study) September 14, 2015 2:46 AM   Subscribe

Deliberate Barriers to User Participation on MetaFilter (Pileggi, H., Morrison, B., Bruckman, A. 2014) is paper from the Georgia Institute of Technology that addresses the following research questions: Why do people pay $5 to join MetaFilter? How has the monetary barrier to site participation affected the MetaFilter community? The study was announced by the authors in this MetaTalk thread but the resulting paper does not seem to have been linked here.
posted by elgilito to MetaFilter-Related at 2:46 AM (47 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

That was way too many words about something simple.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:49 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel compelled to nitpick the second sentence "Metafilter has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1999" with some comment about the time Matt went on holiday.
posted by russm at 4:13 AM on September 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


russm: the time Matt went on holiday.

Do you mean the time when Paphnuty led the Cabal in an uprising against #1 and was erased from the Internet for his affront?
posted by Kattullus at 5:12 AM on September 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


TINC
posted by russm at 5:16 AM on September 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


the Matt Haughey
posted by kisch mokusch at 5:33 AM on September 14, 2015


"Metafilter has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1999"

Oh how quickly we forget the jRun days...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:46 AM on September 14, 2015 [29 favorites]


Neat!
posted by crush-onastick at 5:57 AM on September 14, 2015


Interestingly, the third most popular reason to join was the“need to post.”


By inner cynic says that if that's your reason, you should have to pay $20 to join, SAIT.
posted by chavenet at 6:08 AM on September 14, 2015


I'm not an academic. In sentences like this, what do the question marks mean?

"It also functions as an online community according to the definitions outlined by [?] and [?]."

Tried Googling, but I received grammatical answers.
posted by kimberussell at 6:12 AM on September 14, 2015


I guess that the [?] are citations that were lost during the conversion of the LaTeX file to PDF.
posted by elgilito at 6:18 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it looks like their footnotes survived but their endnotes didn't.
posted by rtha at 6:22 AM on September 14, 2015


Interesting Figure 3. The linear growth in membership is like a rising tide instead of a mad rush you'd expect from a social media site.
posted by three blind mice at 6:24 AM on September 14, 2015


the Matt Haughey

I hear the real Haughey has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia.
posted by zamboni at 6:36 AM on September 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


I don't think my experience is unique - I lurked for years, then a discussion came along on a subject I was passionate about, and I really wanted to join the discussion.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:11 AM on September 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I hear the real Haughey has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia.

Which store?
posted by odinsdream at 7:12 AM on September 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's an interesting research area but as this paper demonstrates, what's needed is a strong theoretical basis. For example if the paper's conclusion is: "Only through understanding the possible triggers can we develop further research probes or in- terventions to explicitly recruit additional members", then I have to ask, Why? Is more of something better? A robust and "explicit" social theory is needed to formulate research methodology and interpret data, and I think papers like these could benefit by spending more on that.
posted by polymodus at 7:21 AM on September 14, 2015


Five dollars was a lot more practical than Matt rushing to your house to brow-beat you into not finishing the process of becoming a member.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:22 AM on September 14, 2015


The only way to become the guy with the most deleted comments record was to post comments. Thus, I was forced to pay.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:09 AM on September 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


has a mandatory one-week waiting period before new users are allowed to post

Does MeFi really have this? I found MeFi at around 2004, lurked forever, and this is the first time I've heard of this. Does it only refer to FPPs? Because I'm pretty sure I posted my first comment about two minutes after registering. (And it wasn't even deleted!)
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:15 AM on September 14, 2015


I was lurking for a while and then one day a bunch of thuggish looking mods busted through my front door and they were all like "Nice stuff you got here. Shame if anything happened to it. Now be smart and sign up and give mathowie your five bucks, chump." and that was that.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:26 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


They also stuffed my cat in my scanner just to make a point I guess.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:26 AM on September 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just be glad nobody read the comments about that.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:28 AM on September 14, 2015


Does MeFi really have this? I found MeFi at around 2004, lurked forever, and this is the first time I've heard of this. Does it only refer to FPPs?

Yep, FPPs only. You can comment immediately.
posted by brianrobot at 10:36 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: That was way too many words about something simple.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:15 AM on September 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


there are 90 lurkers for every 9 members

Whew. At least we're not a site where there are 100 lurkers for every 10 members. That would be gross.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:22 AM on September 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


I've always wondered what became of this research project -- thanks for finding this, elgilito.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:25 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do you mean the time when Paphnuty led the Cabal in an uprising against #1 and was erased from the Internet for his affront?

Isn't it time to admit that Paphnuty is just a long-running joke and never actually existed?
posted by grouse at 1:14 PM on September 14, 2015


There's nothing funny about what happened to Paphnuty.
posted by cgc373 at 1:30 PM on September 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I joined for the professional white background.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:48 PM on September 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Isn't it time to admit that Paphnuty is just a long-running joke and never actually existed?

Jesus, that's pretty orwellian.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:35 PM on September 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


The Matt Haughey, the Dread Pirate Roberts and Paphnuty are sharing a laugh and a beer in a Polynesian dive.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:49 PM on September 14, 2015


Don't forget the Winter of our Missed content, and I seem to recall losing a post on glass top stoves when someone wedged a cat in a java script (I think we lost eight or so hours of ask.me
posted by tilde at 3:39 PM on September 14, 2015


I was a longtime lurker, before user signups were reopened in April 2004. Not knowing how long the gates would stay open, I immediately signed up and paid the $5 fee.
posted by invisible ink at 5:27 PM on September 14, 2015


" ...that Paphnuty is just a long-running joke and ne..."

zat, like that. No filter for like a month. No archives to search, IRC bottlerockets.

It's real as real is.
posted by clavdivs at 7:55 PM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good article, but I wish they had made it clear that Matt will waive the $5.00 for those who can't afford it & send him e-mail requesting membership. For a premium, fee-for-entry web forum, MeFi has an unexpectedly large number of poor members, and even some homeless. The way Section RQ2 is written, it makes it sound like the only exceptions are famous people and the owner's personal contacts. That may lead to later researchers dismissing the paper's recommendations as only applicable to an affluent demographic.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:14 PM on September 14, 2015


Johnny Wallflower: "The Matt Haughey, the Dread Pirate Roberts and Paphnuty are sharing a laugh and a beer in a Polynesian dive."

Lighting their cigars with five dollar bills, amirite?
posted by double block and bleed at 11:13 PM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


grouse: "Isn't it time to admit that Paphnuty is just a long-running joke and never actually existed?"

Some of us remember. Some of us will never forget. Some of us will never forgive.
posted by double block and bleed at 11:22 PM on September 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Isn't it time to admit that Paphnuty is just a long-running joke and never actually existed?

Is this the fabled 'gaslighting' I've heard so much about?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:19 AM on September 15, 2015


Some of us remember. Some of us will never forget. Some of us will never forgive.

Some of us will remember to forget to never forgive.

Shit, that came out wise. Sorry about that.

Pancakes.
posted by eriko at 5:19 AM on September 15, 2015


In all seriousness, I recall the reason for the halt in signups and the restart with the $5 was combination of dealing with both server and moderation capacity. The other benefits of the $5 (SAIT) buy in came in by happy accident. The combo of the signups and ads helped Matt get the server space and hire real Mods, which let the site grow beyond Matt and occasional pb hacking. I don't even think jessamyn was a mod yet. Matt just needed some sort of throttle to new signups as the userids passed 15K.

I don't remember what the exact number was when he called the halt -- in the 13K range, IIRC. All us old timers got in for free. (neener.) But now we're all old, so you can mock us. And, of course, we had to pay for our sock puppets, same as you. Well, our *new* sock puppets.

Damn, I just looked at that "Joined" date on the profile. It's coming on 14 years here.

WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH MY LIFE?
posted by eriko at 5:26 AM on September 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Whew. At least we're not a site where there are 100 lurkers for every 10 members. That would be gross.

No, we'd still need another 34.
posted by eykal at 6:32 AM on September 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Someone publishes an academic paper on Mefi and we get caught up in how many nines the sites has.

There's like one nine at most people. Metafilter aims for 5 8's of reliability people. Move past it.
posted by GuyZero at 10:18 AM on September 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Start of Hannibal Season 3. What, that wasn't it for everybody?
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:13 PM on September 15, 2015


I don't remember what the exact number was when he called the halt -- in the 13K range, IIRC. All us old timers got in for free. (neener.)

There was a time that a limited number (15?) of free memberships were made available every day and if you were online, say, just after midnight you could score a free membership (so you know what you can do with your neener). Sign me: "16K And Didn't Pay"
posted by MikeMc at 4:03 PM on September 15, 2015


Some of us will remember to forget to never forgive.

Can't forget
We only get what we give
posted by shakespeherian at 4:17 PM on September 15, 2015


There's like one nine at most people. Metafilter aims for 5 8's of reliability people. Move past it.

We're a 24x7 operation! 24 hours a week, seven weeks a year.
posted by eriko at 4:22 PM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had been lurking for a year or so and was just about to join when sign ups were shut down (summer of 2001). I somehow discovered memberships were still available as part of the process for signing up for the 5k coding contest and I got in by that route despite not actually submitting an entry to the contest. So not only did I not pay, but I got in under false pretenses. Please don't kick me out.
posted by skyscraper at 6:38 AM on September 17, 2015


« Older The Best of Best of the Web   |   The Big MetaFilter Survey 2015 Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments