Metafilter on Wikipedia May 2, 2006 2:51 PM   Subscribe

The metafilter wikipedia article has a slight disagreement over the possible inferences between MeFi's color Blue, "Red/Blue" states, and MeFi's general left-leaning politics - what do you think?
posted by stbalbach to MetaFilter-Related at 2:51 PM (54 comments total)

Despite the overall political tenor of the site, the use of the color blue in MetaFilter's design is not an allusion to the Democratic Party -- Matt Haughey simply liked the color. (In the United States, the color blue is frequently associated with the Democratic Party as a result of a convention established among the major American television networks in 2000 to use red to color states George W. Bush had won and blue to color states Al Gore had won. Since then, the term blue state has referred to a state in which the majority are Democrats.)

I don't see what the issue is.
posted by cellphone at 2:53 PM on May 2, 2006

I think you posted the wrong url when you made the link for "slight disagreement."
posted by crunchland at 2:54 PM on May 2, 2006

slight disagreement (correct URL)
posted by stbalbach at 2:57 PM on May 2, 2006

I think this is the intended link for the "slight disagreement"
posted by exogenous at 2:57 PM on May 2, 2006

The issue never occurred to me. Metafilter pre-dates the political use of the color. Should all red or blue things issue a disclaimer?
posted by brundlefly at 3:03 PM on May 2, 2006

The Blue's blue 'cause Matt's a Crip. Mystery solved.
posted by hangashore at 3:07 PM on May 2, 2006

One of MetaFilter's strengths (IMHO) is its wealth of international contributors. In the UK the colo(u)r blue is strongly associated with the right wing of British mainstream politics: the Conservatives (Tories).

Likewise red has always been associated with the Labour party i.e. the left. Indeed until 1986 (or later?) The Red Flag was always sung at the end of the annual Labour Party conferences.

The traditionally, albeit no longer, middle-of-the-road Liberal Democrats opted for orange. As for The Green Party... green was fortunately still up for grabs.
posted by NailsTheCat at 3:20 PM on May 2, 2006

In Canada, we associate blue with the Conservatives. The Liberals are red.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 3:21 PM on May 2, 2006

Blue = sexy. Hence all the NSFW links.
posted by languagehat at 3:25 PM on May 2, 2006

i've totally never even heard of anyone making this mistake (imaging the blue of metafilter was there had some sort of significant meaning, political or otherwise) ever.

the manner in which it is brought up seems to imply that there is a large group of users who think in a particular way, which, to my knowledge, is not true.

posted by fishfucker at 3:27 PM on May 2, 2006

many users think that 'imaging' is the proper spelling of the word 'imagining' -- however, this is not actually how it is spelled, rather, fishfucker simply made a typo.
posted by fishfucker at 3:28 PM on May 2, 2006

The article focuses too much on the site's political bent already, and the cited explanation is tilting at a windmill. I vote to delete it.
posted by brain_drain at 3:31 PM on May 2, 2006

The idea that MeFi blue = election day blue is (I suspect) the wild conspiracy theory of a totally deranged loon. It's not even the pure blue used for political maps.

This same person no doubt also thinks Democrats = blue because the sky is blue. And Republicans = red because hot chilies are red. Or some other completely dumb logical connection.

Take away sound bite - You don't need to idiot-proof an encyclopedia.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:32 PM on May 2, 2006

Q: Why do firemen wear red suspenders?
A: To denote an observable tendency among fire-management professionals to identify with more traditionally conservative values associated, however loosely, with the existing Republican party.
posted by cortex at 3:46 PM on May 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Huh, someone removed it and Stbalbach added it back.
posted by delmoi at 3:49 PM on May 2, 2006

I don't think it would occur to many people that the site is blue because of the democrats. At least, that's not my sense. Perhaps real political junkies? Even so, even bringing that up seems like overkill.
posted by cell divide at 3:52 PM on May 2, 2006

Well the votes on Wikipedia (3/1 at time of writing) are against including any mention of color in the wiki piece. Which seems to reflect the overwhelming consensus of this thread.
posted by NailsTheCat at 3:56 PM on May 2, 2006

Stbalbach is the one who created the "controversy" and now he's fanning the flames and starting MetaTalk threads? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?
posted by Justinian at 4:03 PM on May 2, 2006

Perhaps real political junkies?

Heh, only if they're also deeply paranoid. The blue Metafilter = Democrat is a dumb un-meme.
posted by desuetude at 4:07 PM on May 2, 2006

Stbalbach is the best kind of sophist.
posted by found missing at 4:11 PM on May 2, 2006

Justinian : "Stbalbach is the one who created the 'controversy' and now he's fanning the flames and starting MetaTalk threads? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?"

He brought it to MetaTalk to get a vote on whether it stays or goes, which is a damn sight better than what usually happens, where someone just decides that their opinion alone is enough to make that determination. I think he's making a mountain out of a non-molehill, but at least he's putting it to a vote instead of being a jerk about it.
posted by Bugbread at 4:11 PM on May 2, 2006

I thought Blue was Matt's favourite chariot team.
posted by GuyZero at 4:16 PM on May 2, 2006

Suddenly the old red color on projects makes sense. Darn commies and hippies!
posted by blue_beetle at 4:33 PM on May 2, 2006

As discussed previously, MetaFilter/MetaTalk's blue/gray color scheme is a subtle allusion to the Civil War.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:38 PM on May 2, 2006

And here, I always thought it was because the human eye doesn't focus blue as well as other colors, making it a good candidate for a dark background color for human-computer interfaces.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:54 PM on May 2, 2006

I've had just about enough of your partisan hatemongering, KirkkkJobSluder.
posted by cortex at 5:00 PM on May 2, 2006

That's some odd association - blue website == democratic website. Sites usually aren't color-coded like that and I haven't ever heard of anyone making that assumption.
posted by puke & cry at 5:45 PM on May 2, 2006

Gee, I seem to remember it being blue before the entire country went batshit insane.
posted by darukaru at 5:54 PM on May 2, 2006

I designed the layout in March of 1999, about 18 months before anyone ever equated red and blue with political parties. So dumb.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:16 PM on May 2, 2006

blue_beetle : "Suddenly the old red color on projects makes sense. Darn commies and hippies!"

I think he's trying to insinuate that us liberal hippies won't ever get anything done!
posted by graventy at 7:35 PM on May 2, 2006

Wait, this is true? The Republicans and the Democrats wern't assigned colors before 2000?

Seriously, my mind is blown. I just assumed that, like Canada, it was always so.

What was the reasoning behind the color assignations?
posted by sleslie at 7:41 PM on May 2, 2006

It looked good on TV.
posted by cortex at 7:54 PM on May 2, 2006

What was the reasoning behind the color assignations?

IANAPoliticalScienceHistorian, but I have always (okay, for about four years now) wondered about this as well. My completely made-up, probably unprovable theory is that the (art departments working behind the scenes at the) networks in 2000 made a conscious decision to reverse the colors that might "otherwise" be expected - because if they colored the states that voted Democrat "red", people might think there was some not-so-subtle innuendo that Democrat=red=communist. Likewise, if they used "blue" for Republican-voting states, they could find themselves criticized for implying either that the GOP was "true blue", or more "patriotic" than the Democrats; or, alternatively, was only the party of the monied, empowered, class - the blue bloods. After all, as prior comments have indicated, it might be expected that the "expected" assignation would be Democrat=red and Republican=blue. Reversing the two primary colors defused the other possible interpretations, however, and here we are six years later thinking that somehow there is a reason that it's the other way around.

The fatal flaw in my theory, though, is the assumption that all the major networks made the decision to reverse the color scheme independently. That kind of strains credulity, and if it was a group decision to do so - well, I don't need that kind of conspiracy theory in my woolgathering, thank you very much.
posted by yhbc at 8:01 PM on May 2, 2006

I always figured it was because Matt was a closet Tory.
posted by mendel at 8:13 PM on May 2, 2006

If only they had done something daring, like fuschia and chartreuse.
posted by darukaru at 8:59 PM on May 2, 2006

What was the reasoning behind the color assignations?

posted by booksandlibretti at 9:00 PM on May 2, 2006

I heard that MetaTalk is grey because Numero Uno occasionally likes to dress up as J.E.B. Stuart, beard and all.

Not for Civil War reenactments, but 'cause it makes him feel like a big man when he's mowing the lawn.

True, right?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:07 PM on May 2, 2006

this is retarded
posted by cellphone at 1:56 AM on May 3, 2006

We should also issue helmets to all the children at recess as they play in their sandbox, lest they hurt themselves.

Seriously, this is the most ridiculous idea I've ever seen postulated on the grey/Wiki, and that's saying something amazing.

It's almost as if "we've assembled our finest scientists to come up with the most crazy assumption one could draw from something as simple as an off-blue color scheme on a web site." Nevermind the Green party's firm entrenchment on all things Ask.

Poppycock. A ripe slapping is in order.
posted by disillusioned at 3:34 AM on May 3, 2006

What was the reasoning behind the color assignations?

But... but that link doesn't explain a thing!
With the adoption of color television in the 1960s (and continuing with increased use of color in newspapers in the 1980s and 1990s) media outlets took advantage of this in their electoral maps on election night. But until the 2000 election, there was no consensus on color schemes between the networks. For example, from 1972 until at least 1992, NBC consistently showed Republican-won states in blue, and Democratic-won states in red. But other networks used other patterns. ABC, in at least two presidential elections during this time, used yellow for one major party and blue for the other. However, in 2000, for the first time ever, all the major broadcast networks and all the cable news outlets utilized the same color scheme: red for Republicans and blue for Democrats.
Yes, we know. But why? I'm starting to believe in yhbc's conspiracy theory.
posted by languagehat at 5:58 AM on May 3, 2006

No, no, it does make sense. Lofi is white, as was Metafilter in the earliest incarnation. It became blue over time as users registered their political preferences in order to get user names. It's right there in the signup— registered political party.

Though there is strong evidence for the "Blue rhymes with Jew" theory as well.
posted by klangklangston at 6:43 AM on May 3, 2006

Anyone else notice the subliminal message in Wikipedia's screenshot of the site?
posted by reklaw at 6:57 AM on May 3, 2006

Anyone else notice the subliminal message in Wikipedia's screenshot of the site?

Most disappointing subliminal message ever. Here, enhanced for your pleasure.

This bit from wikipedia:

Mr Haughey now moderates the group with an iron Nazi hand, and has taken on another moderator, Jessamyn, to help with the stifling of interesting discussion.

was much more worthwhile/funny.
posted by fake at 7:32 AM on May 3, 2006

posted by Dreamghost at 7:41 AM on May 3, 2006

Maybe we could all specifiy our "alignment" on our user page, and Matt could dynamically change the MeFi front page to show the balance between red/blue, updated hourly of course. It could become a fight to see who could recruit the most new members to their side.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:15 AM on May 3, 2006

Alignment? Like, quonsar is chaotic neutral?
posted by klangklangston at 8:23 AM on May 3, 2006

Eh, it's all in the eyes of the beholder.
posted by cortex at 8:29 AM on May 3, 2006

This is the dumbest thing I've ever read on Metafilter. And I've read some seriously dumb shit here.

On a related note I'm using the white color scheme because I'm closet KKK.
posted by sveskemus at 8:57 AM on May 3, 2006

Metafilter was founded by famous homosexual Matthew Haughey...


WikiPedia: Great potential, too ripe for abuse.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:00 AM on May 3, 2006

No wait, sorry. On second thought the mushroom thread was the dumbest thing ever. This gets second place.
posted by sveskemus at 9:01 AM on May 3, 2006

(see circlejerk)

posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:23 AM on May 3, 2006

What was the reasoning behind the color assignations?

Red - Neck, True - Blue
posted by Rash at 9:48 AM on May 3, 2006

I have no source for this, as I read it a couple years ago I-don't-know-where, but my understanding is that the networks switch the incumbent party's color each time. In 2000, the D's were the incumbents and had blue; in 2004, the incumbent party got red but this time it was the R's. If this is true, the Dems would've been red in 1996 and will be again in 2008.
posted by aaronetc at 8:55 PM on May 3, 2006

>What was the reasoning behind the color assignations?


From the link:
Third-party candidates rarely win any states, but media outlets are prepared with other arbitrary colors for noteworthy third party showings, such as green for the Green party and white for Reform party.
Priceless. "Hey Johnny, did you prepare the green for tonights election show? Yeah, but I'm still not quite satsfied yet. But I also have a nice warm yellow that's been in the making for a few days. And I put a lot of effort in preparing the pink, it's ready to go."
posted by uncle harold at 6:21 AM on May 4, 2006

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