Best Metafilter posts for outsiders? July 25, 2017 12:43 PM   Subscribe

I have, over the years, tried to convince IRL friends of the awesomeness of metafilter. But getting them interested is daunting- there is so much history and culture here. Any given day the front page posts are good; but if you're not familiar with the site, can seem like just a collection of links with discussion. So what threads/posts/discussions do you use to really show off metafilter to people unfamiliar with it? Are there any standout posts you use time and again to people unfamiliar with metafilter? This isn't the best metafilter posts, exactly, as some of the best posts jusdged by mefites may be too culturally specific to hook someone on the outside looking in.

The only one that comes to mind is the emotional labor thread, because it's got so much around it including wider links and articles pointing to how profound that discussion was. But, I'm afraid I'm coming up blank on others. While Metafilter has been such a big part of my life, nothing specific stands out; or what does is best understood through the lens of already being a mefite.
posted by [insert clever name here] to MetaFilter-Related at 12:43 PM (53 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

Am I lowering the tone too early to suggest the penis beaker thread? That's the first one I thought of, rather than the heavy stuff. I think it's a nice example of people being funny and riffing off a topic which for me is MeFi at its most enjoyable.
posted by billiebee at 12:57 PM on July 25 [12 favorites]


On a similar note, the great Sit vs Stand Debate of 2009 is a classic, though maybe a bit long -- but if you think your friend would find it funny, it's a good example of site culture.

Maybe one of the Best of Ask MetaFilter threads from the wiki would be a good fit for their personality?
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:56 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


the front page posts ... can seem like just a collection of links with discussion

That's what they are, and if you don't like it, go away.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:06 PM on July 25 [5 favorites]


imo the best way to introduce people to Metafilter is via Ask Metafilter. People love reading and answering questions, they get invested in their answers and the outcomes, and there's really something for everyone.
posted by lalex at 3:06 PM on July 25 [23 favorites]


imo the best way to introduce people to Metafilter is via Ask Metafilter.

"Oh, yeah, Ask MetaFilter's amazing! For $5, you can ask about ANYTHING once a week!"

My best friend was a lurker for a long time. She won so many arguments with her husband because of what she had read on the Green--and he has come to regard Ask as something like the Oracle. "They know EVERYTHING!" he says. She's on here now, and is a voracious reader of questions--because I kept telling her about the most worthwhile $5 she'd ever spend. When we talk, there's often a "Did you read the question about..." conversation. Thank you, MetaFilter!
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:18 PM on July 25 [14 favorites]


"Oh, yeah, Ask MetaFilter's amazing! For $5, you can ask about ANYTHING once a week!"

TWICE TWICE TWICE!!
posted by lalex at 5:24 PM on July 25 [21 favorites]


I don't try real hard to sell this place. If I think someone will like it, I'll describe it as "a bunch of really smart people discussing interesting things" and point them to a post, but if it doesn't take I don't push it (it's never taken, AFAIK). MetaFilter's not for everyone.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:29 PM on July 25 [10 favorites]


I try not to tell anyone about MetaFilter. It's my secret. Mine. My own. My precious.

*strokes MetaFilter*
posted by Fizz at 6:47 PM on July 25 [42 favorites]


The weekly limit is now TWICE!!!???

(this feels like back in 1995 when I bought a motherboard and installed 32MB of RAM)
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:55 PM on July 25 [16 favorites]


It is TWICE. Did that ever get a banner? My mind is shot.
posted by lalex at 6:59 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Mushrooms
posted by Gymnopedist at 7:38 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Ask vs Guess

The lavaballing thread

The ones where people discuss the best reading material that demonstrates expertise in their field or that explain things well for the layperson.

These are all askme threads.
posted by vignettist at 7:54 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


but if you're not familiar with the site, can seem like just a collection of links with discussion

Well to be fair, that's what it is. That's not snark - I find the people who will like MetaFilter are the kind who would be interested in it enough to read with just that description. Then they find out it's the BEST collection of links with discussion. I've never gotten anyone past "so this is just links with discussion?" for more than a token pretend look just to humor me.
posted by ctmf at 8:39 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Yeah I've never been successful at convincing anyone that mefi was great. You're either one of the chosen or you're not.
posted by AFABulous at 10:23 PM on July 25 [13 favorites]


You're either one of the chosen or you're not.

I prefer to think of myself as one of the damned.

Proudly. Happily.
posted by duffell at 10:28 PM on July 25 [7 favorites]


NORMIES GET OUT REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:32 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


I actually have a stock email I've constructed for this purpose (getting people to understand the MeFi love). Contents here in Google Doc form.

I haven't done a major update in a while, so most of the links are probably ~2014-and-prior, but they remain fabulous.

I did add the emotional labor thread in recently because of its importance, but yeah, most of the stuff is pretty old.

Maybe I'll add new stuff in based on this thread's contents :)
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:43 AM on July 26 [10 favorites]


MonkeyToes: "For $5, you can ask about ANYTHING once a week!"

Same as in town.
posted by chavenet at 8:57 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Yeah I've never been successful at convincing anyone that mefi was great. You're either one of the chosen or you're not.

Nearly every time I've tried to show metafilter to someone else it's ended like this.
posted by phunniemee at 9:10 AM on July 26 [7 favorites]




MetaFilter: just a collection of links with discussion
posted by Miko at 10:29 AM on July 26 [5 favorites]


Ha. I love you guys. And I'm sure you know what I mean. If you don't, we'll fight. It is just text and discussion. But it's so much more than that. It's hard to understand from a brief glance. I attribute Metafilter as one of the places that has made me what I am today and it has absolutely shaped how I think about the world.

But how do you show that to an outsider?

"Yeah I've never been successful at convincing anyone that mefi was great. You're either one of the chosen or you're not."

But I'm sure it has to be possible, right?!
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:38 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


rachaelfaith, that Google Doc is SO cool. Thanks for linking to it!
posted by zarq at 12:43 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


I like "Ask Vs. Guess" because it's such an AH-HAH! that most people will recognize its essential truth. Some of them will want more, and others will look like the Nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark whose face melts off.

*shrug* What can I say besides "In conclusion, MetaFilter is a land of contrasts"? 'Struth, it's not for everyone.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:58 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Hi, Whatcha Reading? (aka the "Schroedinger's Rapist" thread)

The Russian Incident.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:05 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


Heyo mods, did we have a banner for the new question limit on AskMe? If not, can we? MOAR QUESTIONS PLZ.
posted by lalex at 1:11 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


It was sidebarred, I don't remember if there was a banner. Right now we've got the Best Post Contest banner up for all of July, once that's done we can see about re-announcing the question limit thing.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:18 PM on July 26


zarq: rachaelfaith, that Google Doc is SO cool. Thanks for linking to it!

Aw shucks, thanks! MetaFilter has consistently been my favorite corner of the internet for 9 years now, I can't help but share with people I think will enjoy it.
posted by rachaelfaith at 2:19 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


once that's done we can see about re-announcing the question limit thing.

yay!
posted by lalex at 4:27 PM on July 26


Also, it would be sensible to re-introduce rendering of the blink tag at the same time, though unsure if this is the most appropriate thread to mention it in.
posted by Wordshore at 4:33 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Blink tag currently works and is supported by Metafilter. If the first word in this comment isn't blinking it is your web browser that has depreciated it and isn't showing the markup not the site.
posted by Mitheral at 4:44 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Quite honestly, if the cheese heist question on AskMe doesn't tickle your friend at all, MeFi probably isn't for them.
posted by scruffy-looking nerfherder at 5:07 PM on July 26 [13 favorites]


it would be sensible to re-introduce rendering of the blink tag at the same time

Since you bring that up, I'll mention someone who works for me put obnoxious blinking text on an internal site. I had complained he had omitted an important bit of information that needed communicating to users.

I found out recently that since browsers don't honor the blinking anymore he apparently did it himself with a bit of javascript just to troll me. I've never felt more satisfaction in having found out an employee went the extra mile.
posted by mark k at 10:07 PM on July 26 [9 favorites]


On topic I had a friend who kept recommending MeFi for a while. Honestly for me "links to articles with a bunch of discussion" is exactly what sells it. I bounced off it a few times because I expected the post texts to be meatier but for me a good MeFi post is mostly about the links.
posted by mark k at 10:09 PM on July 26


I'm the only mefite in the village.
posted by pracowity at 2:46 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


I came across mefi via an IRL friend, but it was because he would pass on cool links, and I asked "where do you find this stuff?"

Maybe it's about the links?
posted by pompomtom at 4:45 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


With regards to getting people to see the value and enjoyment I have for MetaFilter, I share the links via Twitter. I'll share lots of them from all kinds of subjects and inevitably someone will ask, "Where are you getting all this cool shit?" And that is when I link to MetaFilter and explain that the bonus is discussion with like-minded individuals who have a passion for things that are cool and interesting.
posted by Fizz at 8:30 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


I show them the paint roller sitcom intro AskMe thread and I say "do you know anything about this!? please, if you know something, you must tell us! somebody knows! somebody HAS to know!!" and then I get asked to leave the Arby's
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:06 AM on July 27 [16 favorites]


I had a friend sign up because we got into an "is pizza a sandwich" debate offline and I pointed him here. This was after we came to an uneasy detente over "is cream cheese a condiment?"
posted by zarq at 9:17 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


This is what the Best Of blog is for.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:16 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


This was after we came to an uneasy detente over "is cream cheese a condiment?"

If anyone in the world actually thinks this I am emigrating to the moon I swear to
posted by billiebee at 12:33 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


If anyone in the world actually thinks this I am emigrating to the moon I swear to

You know those scenes in old science fiction shows and movies where the computer is told a logical paradox....

Kirk: "Computer, Spock never lies."
Spock: "Computer, I am lying."

...and the computer
CANNOT COMPUTE
and goes KABLOOOIE?

Yeah.
posted by zarq at 1:26 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


The ones where people discuss the best reading material that demonstrates expertise in their field or that explain things well for the layperson.

Anybody got the link(s) for this/these? They're not on the wiki and I always wanted to revisit and bookmark the one I remember.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:34 PM on July 27






scanning through my favorites, a lot of the incredibly popular threads I used to send people to be like, "this is why this site is great" would be considered too chatfiltery to be allowed now.
posted by lalex at 4:40 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Sometimes the absurd works: Should I pay to replace a rude guest's shawl? and of course, the thread that brought me here, Sleep is where Ralph is a Viking.

is cream cheese a condiment?

Can something be a main course and a condiment?
posted by Room 641-A at 5:21 PM on July 27 [5 favorites]


Food categories are rarely strictly defined, but the meaning of "condiment" in general use is too narrow to argue that a spread is a condiment.
posted by Miko at 5:43 AM on July 28


any food can be used as a condiment tho
posted by prize bull octorok at 7:26 AM on July 28


I actually usually sell Metafilter based on our mod staff. People are often very interested by the concept of a professional mod staff, and when I push hard on the whole "institutional concept of respecting fellow members first and then being dorks" that tends to help intrigue folks who want a good discussion zone for catch-all topics.
posted by sciatrix at 8:16 AM on July 28


i lik the bred is a pretty good example of the magic of Metafilter: collecting the best of the internet (digging into Reddit so you don't have to) and building on it. That thread was just delightful, and I shared it with a bunch of folks who are not the usual Metafilter audience who agreed.

I also think particularly personally relevant and/or hilarious ask.me questions are a good start too, things that show off the breadth and depth of Mefites' expertise and the quality of discussion.
posted by yeahlikethat at 8:23 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


Last time you didn't have holes in your feet is a pretty frequent go-to for me, mostly when it feels like I need to sneeze except instead of sneezing, laughing while sobbing.
posted by carsonb at 10:26 AM on July 28


I have a small circle of friends that are so depressed and feel like "everybody" has joined the oppressors and that the news media doesn't even try to present the cruelty that is being promulgated.

I've recommended the mega political threads to a few friends who can't bear to follow the news. At least on MF the reports of the Trumpists are greeted with masses of derision and creative swears. I've invited a few folks to come hang out with our compassionate and well informed MeFites.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:06 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


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