The sacred users March 27, 2007 8:10 PM   Subscribe

100 / 1000 / 10000 / 20000 / 40000 - yet 30000 and 50000 are suspiciously absent. Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide.
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) to MetaFilter-Related at 8:10 PM (48 comments total)

We go over this all the damn time. Stop it.
posted by boo_radley at 8:15 PM on March 27, 2007

All the space is taken up by double posts.
posted by null terminated at 8:15 PM on March 27, 2007

The person didn't pay for their 50k account.

[this thread is closed to new comments]
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:16 PM on March 27, 2007

Nothing will kill the cult of quasi-significant numbers.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:18 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

50000 was most intriguing, as 49999 and 50001 are non-existent as well.
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) at 8:22 PM on March 27, 2007

I think people should be disappeared when they call themselves things like "(bb|[^b]{2})"
posted by The God Complex at 8:36 PM on March 27, 2007

It would really mess up the universe if Matt changed it so new people got the lowest available user #.
posted by smackfu at 8:38 PM on March 27, 2007

Does it ruin it for you at all if I mention that neither 30K nor 50K has an unusual or tittilating username?
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:56 PM on March 27, 2007

Powers of two users are way more interesting.
posted by misterbrandt at 8:57 PM on March 27, 2007

User 666 has only one contribution--an AskMe answer that reads:

if you have heartburn and no antiacid around, sleep on your left side.

There's definitely something weird going on. Antiacid is bad shit.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:01 PM on March 27, 2007

This means something.
posted by chrismear at 9:03 PM on March 27, 2007

I was totally hoping for a GIF of a pile of mashed potatos linked as "This means something".
posted by Rhomboid at 9:09 PM on March 27, 2007

5 arbitrarily chosen numbers are silent, hmmm.

Any stats on how many MeFi accounts have been signed onto within the last, say, month? 3 months? I think then we can put this into perspective, contacting the relevant authorities if necessary.
posted by Brian James at 9:16 PM on March 27, 2007

a) everything means something
b) nothing means anything
c) both
d) neither
e) have a beer!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:41 PM on March 27, 2007

The God Complex writes "I think people should be disappeared when they call themselves things like '(bb|[^b]{2})'"

What do you mean? Line noise is a perfectly good handle.
posted by Mitheral at 9:49 PM on March 27, 2007

So does anything interesting or explosive happen when user # 65536 tries to join?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:54 PM on March 27, 2007

Soylent Green is People! PEEEEEEOPLE!
posted by grateful at 9:56 PM on March 27, 2007

I think people should be disappeared when they call themselves things like "(bb|[^b]{2})"

You wonder if "2b|!2b" was already taken...
posted by smackfu at 10:06 PM on March 27, 2007

You wonder if "2b|!2b" was already taken...

It was.
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) at 10:09 PM on March 27, 2007

No it wasn't.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:21 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Usernames that are perl jokes are always forgivable.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:21 PM on March 27, 2007


The Union has no neighbors--No metropolis--The Americans have had the chance of birth in their favor--America an empty country--How this circumstance contributes powerfully to maintain the democratic republic in America--How the American wilds are peopled--Avidity of the Anglo-Americans in taking possession of the solitudes of the New World--Influence of physical prosperity upon the political opinions of the Americans.

A THOUSAND circumstances, independent of the will of man, facilitate the maintenance of a democratic republic in the United States. Some of these are known, the others may easily be pointed out; but I shall confine myself to the principal ones.

The Americans have no neighbors and consequently they have no great wars, or financial crises, or inroads, or conquest, to dread; they require neither great taxes, nor large armies, nor great generals; and they have nothing to fear from a scourge which is more formidable to republics than all these evils combined: namely, military glory. It is impossible to deny the inconceivable influence that military glory exercises upon the spirit of a nation. General Jackson, whom the Americans have twice elected to be the head of their government, is a man of violent temper and very moderate talents; nothing in his whole career ever proved him qualified to govern a free people; and, indeed, the majority of the enlightened classes of the Union has always opposed him. But he was raised to the Presidency, and has been maintained there, solely by the recollection of a victory which he gained, twenty years ago, under the walls of New Orleans; a victory which was, however, a very ordinary achievement and which could only be remembered in a country where battles are rare. Now the people who are thus carried away by the illusions of glory are unquestionably the most cold and calculating, the most unmilitary, if I may so speak, and the most prosaic of all the nations of the earth.
posted by killdevil at 10:51 PM on March 27, 2007

It would really mess up the universe if Matt changed it so new people got the lowest available user #.
They already do. They always have.
posted by dg at 12:01 AM on March 28, 2007

And welcome to another episode of How Much Fun Can You Have Talking About A Database!
posted by phaedon at 12:04 AM on March 28, 2007

Usernames that are perl jokes are always forgivable.

Thank you.
posted by c:\awesome at 12:59 AM on March 28, 2007

I'm going to crash this little "your username sucks" party now.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:03 AM on March 28, 2007

They already do. They always have.

I think smackfu was taking a wee bit of the piss, there, dg.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:05 AM on March 28, 2007

A wee wee, if you will.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:07 AM on March 28, 2007

The real issue here is that all those unused usernames are using up all the space on the Metafilter mainframe! Bytes and bytes of it. Maybe we should delete them to make more room for new users???
posted by reklaw at 3:56 AM on March 28, 2007

The real issue here is that all those unused usernames are using up all the space on the Metafilter mainframe! Bytes and bytes of it. Maybe we should delete them to make more room for new users???

You know, this has come up like a thousand times and I'm kind of tired of hearing people rehash it out of their basic misunderstanding of how the site works, so I'll explain it very, very clearly and in short words right now:

We're renting those account numbers out to Fark on the sly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:44 AM on March 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have to get this off my chest:

1) What's with the parens? Either you plan to use the value later, or you don't understand that the pipe operator extends options to the nearest pattern delimiter. You're wasting valuable cycles, especially if your script uses the dangerous $& , $` , or $' anywhere.
2) Are you intentionally matching substrings? Your regex would evaluate as true against both "bubble" and "wtf". In fact, it would evaluate as true against the vast majority of strings. Perhaps you want a ^ at the beginning and a $ at the end (in which case you'd want to keep the parens or replace them with the (?:) group-but-not-capture operator).
3) Even then, there's a problem with the spec. Does "not two b's" mean "two non-b's"? Or does it just mean "two characters that are not both b's"? If the latter, then the entire expression will always be true for any string of two characters, and can be simplified to just "^..$", or maybe "^\w\w$". Either way, we need to go back to Prince Hamlet of Denmark and find out what he really wanted with this regex.
posted by Plutor at 5:07 AM on March 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

I think the point of a dichotomy between X and Not X is that, between them, they cover all possibilities. So "not two b's" should mean "any string that is not two b's in a row". Is this regex false for zero or single character strings? Hamlet wasn't considering whether to (a) be, (b) not be, or (c) have a biscuit.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 5:54 AM on March 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hamlet was notoriously sloppy with edge-cases. Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent indeed.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:01 AM on March 28, 2007

The real issue here is that all those unused usernames are using up all the space on the Metafilter mainframe!

I'm sure that if we delete them and move the usernames that are in use to the next available space I, user number 41856, would end up with a number like user 34.
posted by micayetoca at 6:11 AM on March 28, 2007

Hey, where the heck has reklaw been?

Hi, reklaw!
posted by cgc373 at 6:28 AM on March 28, 2007

10 is absent too, as are the infinite number of irrational numbers between any two arbitrarily chosen integers.
posted by TedW at 7:03 AM on March 28, 2007

Ginseng helps me waste valuable cycles more often.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:25 AM on March 28, 2007

Well hello there, cgc373!

*sniff* someone noticed meee
posted by reklaw at 7:25 AM on March 28, 2007

posted by shmegegge at 8:24 AM on March 28, 2007

Can I buy a better (lower) user number?
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 8:48 AM on March 28, 2007

user 10000 is Miguel. I think. maybe not. but i have su-susp...cause to think this but no evidence.

in his whole career ever proved him qualified to govern a free people;

heh-heh. It was all about the money
posted by clavdivs at 9:53 AM on March 28, 2007

Obtaining a lower user number is the first good reason I've yet to hear on the usefulness of time travel.
posted by yeti at 11:18 AM on March 28, 2007

The inspiration for my username was taken from a shirt I saw on I cannot speak to the validity of the equation.
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) at 11:19 AM on March 28, 2007

Usernames that are perl jokes are always forgivable.

I was going to to a snarky perl reply, but Plutor's attack on the poster's username being malformed made me too nervous.
posted by davejay at 1:52 PM on March 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

especially if your script uses the dangerous $& , $` , or $' anywhere.

I was able to follow along with most of the analysis, except this part. I have no idea what this means, but the use of 'dangerous' makes me think I should know ... little help here?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:51 AM on March 29, 2007

Actually, I'm more shocked by this. I mean, they have that user number (it's clearly not a not-paid-for situation since they have a name), but they're not even using it! No posts, no comments... nothin'.

What's the world coming to?
posted by Many bubbles at 5:33 PM on March 29, 2007

I will step out of the shadows and reveal the truth. I'm a triple-zero user, and I, like other triple and quadruple-zero users, am not human. Yes, I hear you gasp in disbelief, but it is the truth. Sure we may seem human, both on the internet and in real life, but we're not of woman born, but grown in a vast series of tubes, that run between the various MetaFilter Underground InnerComplexes. The earliest experiment, codenamed mr_stru, was a hellish creature, having several appendages of irregular length, and a massive hairy growth on the top of a bulbous, fleshy orb that sat atop its main mass. It, or he, did not take happily to commenting, chafing at the bonds which held it fast. By dint of an especially prolonged bout of striving, mr_stru managed to break out of the intertubes, causing the first serious meltdown of the MetaFilter system. Following a fierce and violent sudoku-off with Number 1, mr_stru escaped into the wilds of Essex, where his plaintive cries echo in cul-de-sacs and community centers alike.

The second, more modest experiment, codenamed rob to keep with its less ambitious aims, was also more or less unsuccessful. After less than half a year of life, rob started refusing the sustenance provided, and slowly, but surely, wasted away, until the structural integrity was too compromised to stand up to the buffeting streams and full lodes of the intertubes.

Number 1 went back to The Board of Drawing, to come up with a radical new blueprint for the third experiment, the thrust of which was perfectly encapsulated in its descriptive codename, tomplus1. Unfortunately, before completion the intertube in which he grew,and this time it definitely was a he, was strapped to an erupting volcano by the Sea Org of the Scientology Church. This humorous and awkward misunderstanding was later cleared up to everyone's satisfaction.

Everyone's satisfaction except the next triple-zero user, codenamed jonathanbell to hinder any similar confusions from reoccuring. This iteration of the project was merely a regrown tomplus1. For a long time it looked like jonathanbell was the greatest success of the triple-zero program. His online activities remained constant and didn't arouse suspicion and he was slowly inveigling his way into human society. But one day, one frightful, terrible day, while swimming through the intertubes he found the truth. Or rather, the decapitated head of tomplus1, which, as you know, is the exact image of jonathanbell. Driven to twittering, glimmering madness by finding what appeared to be his own head, he bashed himself unconscious on the walls of the intertubes. Number 1, horrified and saddened by what happened to what he considered to be his crowning achievement, sent him to a sanitarium. He was later found dead, having choked on a pillow in the library, even though no pillows of any kind were ever stored in the building where the sanitarium library was, it was ruled an accident, as it seemed the only possible explanation. Around the same time, an assisstant librarian, who had just joined the staff, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. It was considered rather silly of the accounting office to have lost all of her records, but it's hard to keep track of all those differently sized papers, you know, they're all differently sized, and shit.

Buoyed by his success with jonathanbell, and not knowing the sad fate which awaited his hereto sole success, made several changes to the tomplus1 template which he hoped would lead to success heretofore undreamt of by mortal homo sapiens. With the winds of fate blowing fiercely into the mainsails, codename steinschlaf was launched with the hopes of the entire MetaFilter Underground InnerComplexes resting on its back. It was thus particularly disheartening that, due to the common design error of forgetting to convert all variables from imperial to metric, steinschlaf ended up with a colon that opened inward. The entirety of InnerComplex Epsilon Alpha Tau Mu Epsilon had to watch through the clear walls of the intertube that ran through it, as the gibbering lifeform bloated up and burst, ending its agonized and tortured existance.

Determined not to foul up this thoroughly again, Number 1 took great, outsized, giant steps to ensure that nothing so appetite-destroying would happen. With care and zeal guiding his every hand, Number 1 produced what may be his greatest, unqualified success, the sixth triple-zero, codenamed salmacis. So perfect was the simulacrum of humanity, that on their first sighting of the creature, flunkies in InnerComplex, supposing that one of their own number had fallen through a service vent into the intertubes, cut through the wall sending salmacis flooding through the opening onto the floor, where he flopped and floundered as the gentle arms of asphyxiation enveleped the larynx of his life. Luckily, a quickwitted MetaFilter lackey, realizing what manner of being spasmodically twitched before him, commanded his fellows to thrust salmacis back into the intertubes. This intelligent act convinced, Number 1, in his munificence, to spare this lackey from the tortures he inflicted on his insolent co-flunkies, and merely drowned him in his own urine, a blissful death compared to the horrid existance of the others. Common decency, and a wish not to disturb the sleep of innocent readers, prevents me from revealing the full extent of their tortures, but to those in the know, those already twisted by forbidden knowledge one wishes one could unlearn, mere mentions of "The Broom That Vibrates," "The Welcomed Overlords" and "Oo! Long!" should be enough to give you a taste of the terrors visited upon the fleshes and souls of these poor wretches. But salmacis, of course, knew nothing of this. However, much speculation has rested on the formative experience with the outside world. Did it keep him from trying to escape from the intertubes? Did it make him hate the airy realm, gifting salmacis with a burning fervor to wreak vengeance upon, letting the creature suppress its natural urges and mingle with humans without being tempted to feast upon the soft, tender meat? Only salmacis and, perhaps, Number 1, though he discourages such idle talk, know.

Thinking he had hit upon the perfect formula Number 1 attempted to replicate salmacis in the next triple-zero, codenamed ice_cream_motor. Although broadly successful, ICM, as the wags have it, has always been in the shadow of its more illustrious predecessor. This may contribute to its sallow appearance and fondness for haunting the sections where the intertubes break the surface, gazing at perfidious stars and far mountains, perhaps dreaming of a day where it can romp in forest glades and tranquil valleys, perhaps wishing for a day it can wreak merciless bloodletting on the world it can never know, or perhaps, it merely longs for a Mars bar. Or a Kit Kat. Or a refreshing sip of Pepsi Blue.

Once he realized that simply copypasting would bring diminishing returns, Number 1 decided to incorporate the newest mathematical research on flux in transport phenomena to redesign the tomplus1 schematic, which, to this day, he considers the most perfect. Thus, the eighth triple zero, codenamed fluxcreative, came into being. And what a being it was. To look upon him was akin to gazing into the sun, but a sun not of light and warmth, but of beaught and goodth. So did he enamor those he conversed with, and such conversations! that he was sought out by all and sundry for his wit and wisdom. But, much like with the sun, his heart was dark, and he yearned to escape into the Dominion of Man, to rule them and command. So, entrapping a poor janitor with his wiles, he made his escape, seeming to vanish into thin air. For the longest time Number One received no satisfaction on this issue, until word reached the InnerComplexes that fluxcreative had, for reasons mysterious and uncertain, self-immolated in the Unix Manuals section of the public library in Burlington, Vermont. The poor librarian who found fluxcreative quit the next day, overcome with shock, never to be heard from again. She had, unfortunately, not completed the hiring paperwork, and therefore proved impossible to track down, and therefor any light she may have shed on his mysterious final, screamed words, "it is you, o foul ask me assassin!" is lost to us. The janitor tricked by fluxcreative's guiles was englazed in maple syrup and thrown into a New England greasy breakfast spoon, there to perish.

It is therefore not hard to understand that the next triple-zero, codenamed gm, was doomed by the unsteady hands of a Number 1 who had been struck a mighty blow to the core of his self belief. The panicked pounding, ever weakening, which was all that anyone had as proof of gm's existance, still reverberates in the hollows of the ears of those who heard it. It is rumored that in the most obscure corner of the intertubes one sometimes sees the corpse of gm, all fist and chins and pancreas, floating in the murk.

Determined not to futz up again, Number 1 embarked on what was his most ambitious undertaking to date. He undertook to create the first quadruple-zero user, codenamed ricci in honor of his favorite young actress. Despite his utmost efforts to secrecy, rumors began to circulate of the awesome, and awful, powers that a quadruple-zero would possess. It was said that a quadruple-zero could take Mars in one hand, Venus in the other, pop Mercury in its mouth, and juggle the whole thing while dancing the jitterbug with the zombie of Louise Brooks. It was said that a quadruple-zero user would urinate hot chocolate, vomit clam chowder and come fluffernutters. It was said that the visage of a quadruple-zero user would be both more beautiful to behold, and more terrible, than even the face of the goatse man, who cannot show his countenance to the world, lest all mankind go mad and claw out its eyes. Sadly, all that ricci did in its brief passage through the kingdom of the living was to shout "urrrrggh! urrrrrrrrggh!" repeatedly, until his stomach burst open, showering all that were nearby in a profusion of feces. That common design error, not converting all variables from imperial to metric, had struck again.

It is not known how far the eleventh triple-zero progressed off the drawing board. Number 1 never discusses it, and no one recalls hearing about it. Not even its codename has survived the attrition of time. The scuttlebutt nevertheless has it that Number 1, supposed to have been alighting in Reno at the time, nursing the mental wounds suffered during the quadruple-zero debacle, purposefully sabotaged his own creation, just to watch it die. It is considered far likelier that design flaws became apparent early on in the process, and the creature was put down before it could embark on a miserable existance.

The fate of the twelfth triple-zero, codenamed pumpkinhead, is well established in the literature. After a string of failures Number 1 wished to return to the roots of the program, to fix the mistakes made on the original creature. Thus was the provenance of pumpkinhead, a hapless being, a mess of appendages protruding awkwardly from a central body, with an uneven, semi-hirsute sphere resting on a round, meaty cylindar, serving as the nerve center. Like mr_stru before it, it too spurned the commenting it was bred to do. Thinking that he could earn its trust by cutting it free from its confining shackles, Number 1 cut it free from the shackles of its confinement. But he did not earn it trust, oh no, all he earned was a series of bruises and gashes as pumpkinhead made its escape. Unlike mr_stru, it did not spurn all human contact, which proved its undoing. When it thought the situation secure, pumpkinhead would approach weary travelers on the blasted moors of Essex, where it made its home. One such passer-through, a wandering minstrel singing mirthful songs and merry, proved to be pumpkinhead's ultimate undoing. Seated by the flames of a log-fed campfire, plucking comedic tunes on his six-stringed instrument fashioned of maple and rosewood, the strolling troubadour seemed the very picture of jovial unharmfulness. It was thus a great shock to pumpkinhead when it woke up dead, garrotted to death with one of its own monstrous sinews, the rest harvested for replacement strings by the wicked musician.

For Number 1, the number 13 proved to be lucky. Rattled by the growing heap of up-futzed experiments, Number 1 made every mistake possible during the production of the specimen codenamed mdn. The catalog of errors is long. Instead of nurturing crucial cultures in petri dishes, he dipped them in fondue. When attempting to grow hair follicles, he got baby carrots. As he thought he was near the end of the whole process, he realized he'd left the spleen out. He lost the nosebone. And so on and so forth. In spite of all the fumbles and stumbles mdn turned out to be a great success. The most obvious and oft-noted result of Number 1's errors was mdn's status as the first clearly and unambiguously female triple-zero. In every other way she surpassed all of Number 1's hopes. Many claim that, to this day, she remains his favorite triple-zero, ensconced in his heart like a banana wrapped in bacon. She entered society seamlessly, and her quick successes in the intertubes led to an assignment in Earth's most challenging social environment, Saskatchewan. When that proved too tough, even for a triple-zero of mdn's caliber, she was sent to the easier environs of New York City, where she remains to this day, happy like a gerbil in a bag of nuts.

Having triumphed through adversity, Number 1 felt confident in his powers. Yet, not wanting to overreach, he opted for simplicity itself. He would redo mdn, only flipping the gender. The being, codenamed jeffd did not turn out to Number 1's specifications. While mdn took the intertubes, and even the interblags and the webbytrons, by storm, jeffd wilted like a chrysanthemum in the Kalahari on a parched summer's day. Old men say, that if, on your peregrinations through the intertubes, you feel a something wispy brush up against your whiskers, it will be the fragile, empty husk of jeffd, drifting on the streams and twirling in the eddies. And when you do feel his light touch, say a prayer for him, and for yourself, so that you may not end up like jeffd.

Intent on salvaging something worthwhile from his latest failure, Number 1 decided that he would turn jeffd's weaknesses into strengths for his next project, a triple-zero that would fade seamlessly into modern society, that was the plan for the creature codenamed EmoChild. It was a stunning success. EmoChild took to both the intertubes and human society like yeast to a vagina. Soon her (or his, EmoChild's gender was always in flux) facility to blend into a crowd of Buddy-Holly-glasses-wearing and floppy-fringe-sporting youth grew dangerous. He or she would disappear from the sights of his minders at concerts only to suddenly issue forth in the midst of the group of custodians claiming to have never gone anywhere, having been there the whole time, and besides, why do they have know where he or she is all the freakin' time, it's not like EmoChild is a baby, EmoChild can take its own damn decisions. These episodes grew more frequent in number and longer in duration until one day EmoChild vanished and never reappeared. Many concert-goers recount having thought that they saw EmoChild out of the corner of their eye, only for it to prove to have been a mirage once the head had been swiveled, and eyes trained on the spot where he, or she, should have been.

I end this account from the back pages of The Secreted History of MetaFilter with my own story. I have never discovered what plan Number 1 had for me when he embarked upon my creation, all I know is that I was rejected, thrown into The Maelstrom of the Intertubes, upon which Number 1 built his Fortress of Food is Chewed. As I was wrapped in an unsolved sudoku, I've long suspected that I was made to be a great sudoku-solver, but to this day I lack any desire to test my aptitude on that particular puzzle. I was rescued by a woman who transported me to safety and placed me in the little-trod stacks of a college library in western Massachusetts. The stories of many of my predecessors I learned on that hazardous journey. Other tales I have had to piece together on my own. I suckled on the information gathered in these bookshelves and grew so frightened of the outside world that I dared not to leave the comforting enclosure. So I remained for what in memory seemed a thousand eons. Had a student of the college, a normal MetaFilter user by the name of grapefruitmoon, not stumbled upon me and recognized me for what I was. She quickly hooked me back up to MetaFilter and I soon began to sing my way across the void back to the intertubes. And here I remain. One day I will know enough to narrate what happened to the triple-zeros, or the even more unfortunat quadruple-zeros. That day hasn't come yet, but it will, it will, one purply-sunset day I will sit down with a tale to tell, a quill in hand and a pipe overfloweing with the finest uncut PHP in all of Los Angeles County and breathe the dust off fusty tomes.
posted by Kattullus at 6:21 PM on March 29, 2007 [7 favorites]

posted by clavdivs at 10:52 AM on March 30, 2007

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