Welcome. How'd you find us? October 5, 2007 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Has any data ever been gathered on how people have found out about Metafilter?

I joined a little over a year ago, and can't for the life of me remember where I learned about the site. I know it wasn't by word of mouth, but rather through web travels. I was just wondering if any even informal survey has captured this info.
posted by sweetkid to MetaFilter-Related at 1:59 PM (103 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Since this is MetaFilter, we need to find out how people have found out about finding out about MetaFilter.
posted by davejay at 2:19 PM on October 5, 2007

I believe there's been at least one completely unscientific MeTa where it was discussed, but it eludes my Googling. (Me, either MonkeyFilter or [MeFi's Own] Growabrain, I can't recall.)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:20 PM on October 5, 2007

Actually, I believe that as soon as we all find out how everyone else found out about Metafilter, we have to leave the island.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:21 PM on October 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

Here's a previous MeTa thread on this subject.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2007

How did you find out about that, lazywhinerkid?
posted by davejay at 2:26 PM on October 5, 2007

posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:26 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Maybe it was Hot Links.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:27 PM on October 5, 2007

On September 18th, 2001, Salon magazine ran an article about websites that were tracking information regarding the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center. It cited the famous 9/11 as it happened thread on MetaFilter. I clicked on MetaFilter after midnight that night and joined.
posted by y2karl at 2:32 PM on October 5, 2007

On September 18th, 2001, Salon magazine ran an article about websites that were tracking information regarding the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center. It cited the famous 9/11 as it happened thread on MetaFilter. I clicked on MetaFilter after midnight that night and joined.

One thing about metafilter is that for a long time you couldn't get an account. I managed to get one august 10th of 2001, but I had been wanting one for months.
posted by delmoi at 2:38 PM on October 5, 2007

(er, I mean august 24th)
posted by delmoi at 2:38 PM on October 5, 2007

How did you find out about that, lazywhinerkid?

I vaguely remembered posting in a thread on the topic so looked in my posting history and there it was.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 2:41 PM on October 5, 2007

i haven't the faintest idea. I think I found it around the same time I found memepool and boingboing. But it's kind of one of those things on the internet that's as ubiquitous as air at this point. Slashdot, Digg, SA, Boingboing, metafilter, Dailykos... If you spend time online, it's kind of unavoidable.
posted by empath at 2:42 PM on October 5, 2007

Someone* did an fpp on a site of mine & then I checked it out & eventually joined.

*I shall refrain from mentioning which Mefite posted the fpp 'cuz I don't want matteo to start threatening to beat the crap out of them or something.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:53 PM on October 5, 2007

I found out about MetaFilter from my girlfriend. I liked it so much I married her.
posted by brain_drain at 2:59 PM on October 5, 2007

Slashdot begat Kur05hin begat Plastic begat MeFi for me. Something like 7 years ago. Decided to join during one of the free periods that popped up after the $5 signup fee got initiated much much(3 years) later.
posted by mnology at 3:04 PM on October 5, 2007

I found it on the internet using a computer.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:11 PM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

Significant Other
During the "no new members" phase.
Which was so frustrating since there was a ffp posted THREE times over a year about some stupid music video about a clay person working in a factory and makes some crazy new colorful product and becomes a millionaire blah blah and it had a Faith No More song but it was really used as a music video for a Kenna song (Hell Bent) that went with it sooo much better and I couldn't post anything at that time to tell everyone. So there it is, why I spent $5.

and here is the video.

I apologize for the serious derail.
posted by idiotfactory at 3:14 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I misspelled meat. It was cheaper than the meat, so here I am.
posted by Mblue at 3:20 PM on October 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

I discovered MetaFilter about three or four years ago.

At various points in my various Googlings on various subjects, I'd come across MeFi posts and their subsequent threads. When I'd go to the main page, I'd discover many posts about many other things. The first couple of times, I was baffled. What did this site have to do with anything I found on it? Eventually, I got it. And then I got it, like getting a virus. It kept me up nites and the whole thing.

I became a member in February of 2005 and have yet to contribute anything of real value!
posted by houseofdanie at 3:28 PM on October 5, 2007

I just looked under the potatoes and there it was!
posted by dersins at 3:31 PM on October 5, 2007

It doesn't really matter how you found us. What's important is that you're here now.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:37 PM on October 5, 2007

I was told of Metafilter in a fevered dream, the words coming to me from the mouth of god itself, in the form of a rabid weasel. The sound, like the slow scratching of a a sharpened diamond over the flesh of a rotting watermelon, nearly drove me to madness, but as I lay on the ground screaming and clutching my head, there was a sudden silence.

And I came to discover I was in a beautiful blue field, with white lines and golden portals to other worlds. I found this place safe and I've hidden here ever since.

Of course, I still suspect that I was feeling under the weather from something that I had eaten earlier that day, and the actual experience was probably much more surreal.
posted by quin at 3:39 PM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

I can't remember what it was, but I was searching for something on Google and one of the first results was from AskMe...and it was actually pretty helpful. I lurked for a while after that, and then somewhere in late December of 2006, I joined.

Ironically enough, I got VERY sick a few days later. A sign?
posted by DMan at 3:39 PM on October 5, 2007

I kept following links to Ask.Me from Lifehacker. I spent about a year lurking before I joined.

These days I only sometimes read Lifehacker, but I'm always on MetaFilter.
posted by veggieboy at 3:40 PM on October 5, 2007

I found it on the Internet.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:01 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm still looking for the real Metafilter.
posted by peacay at 4:19 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

a friend of mine from real life told me about it, i read obsessively for a week, then joined. i had never heard of it before then, so I never had to go through the agonies of not being able to sign up. Truly a five dollar noob.
posted by mosessis at 4:28 PM on October 5, 2007

I found Metafilter through a post I read on Mefi's Own(TM) languagehat's site.
posted by Falconetti at 4:42 PM on October 5, 2007

I found it refreshingly brash, with hints of pancake and cat dander. The overtones of elephant waste did not completely ruin the experience, but they did lessen my enjoyment of it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:43 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by Reggie Digest at 4:50 PM on October 5, 2007

It followed me home one day and Pips said I could keep it.

(still haven't been able to housebreak it)
posted by jonmc at 4:55 PM on October 5, 2007

posted by geekyguy at 4:58 PM on October 5, 2007

(still haven't been able to housebreak it)

but you're the one who shits in its threads...
posted by nasreddin at 5:01 PM on October 5, 2007

posted by wendell at 5:07 PM on October 5, 2007

who remembers anymore?
posted by caddis at 5:28 PM on October 5, 2007

1999... I was fascinated by this new "webloging" thing and was in the process of Getting My Own Fucking Blog (oneswellfoop.com, a domain since lost). I checked out every new thing that showed up on the "original blogroll" at CamWorld. (My first great Internet Honor was getting listed there; my second great Internet Honor was being the first to be DE-listed there, after a blog-based joke which Cam interpreted as 'inviting hackers to attack other blogs') Anyway, that's where I first found the 'Filter, and if I recall correctly, I signed up (1) because of the cool feature which let members see how many posts and comments had been made since you last checked in and (2) I liked being an 'early adopter' so I could have dibs on the username "wendell". When I saw that I was user number 206, I thought "well, maybe I'm not THAT early an adopter..." little did I know...
posted by wendell at 5:30 PM on October 5, 2007

I was in a very dark place in my life in 2001, but Jesus' schedule was booked solid so I found Metafilter instead.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:37 PM on October 5, 2007

I think it was a yahoo "site of the day" sometime before 9/11. I remember reading the 9/11 thread as it happened, although I wasn't a member yet, because it was one of the few sites that was loading, so obviously I was a seasoned lurker by that time. I didn't sneak in until the next March, when I finally found the 5k(?) contest back door (it's an old story, that particular back door has long since been closed, so don't worry about it).
posted by yhbc at 5:41 PM on October 5, 2007

I woke up one Sunday morning in '02 with one hell of a blinding hangover and a gut-sinking sense that I wasn't completely alone in my bunk. With a painful pivot, I peaked at who, or what, might be my morning companion. That's when I saw you MetaFilter, and I've never touched a drink again.
posted by found missing at 5:55 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

caddis, not me. It's something I ponder occasionally, wondering exactly how I got here sometime in late 1999 or early 2000, lurking and lurking until I decided in August 2001 to join (before I knew that having a lower usernumber would confer such uber status, alas!). I wish I knew. But that, along with how I discovered MUDs and the ancient (and now defunct) holonet.org and its IRC channel 11+ years ago all elude me. Ah well.
posted by po at 6:08 PM on October 5, 2007

I think my story is somewhat similar to wendell's, minus the listings and de-listings on CamWorld. I can't remember if I was "blogging" or "journaling" at that point though...
posted by stefnet at 6:41 PM on October 5, 2007

I found it through camworld, too, I think, but it was years before I joined and I blame quonsar for that - he finally dragged me here!

Here's a related thread:
April 2003: What was your very first impression of MetaFilter, that first time you visited?
posted by madamjujujive at 6:54 PM on October 5, 2007

I found MetaFilter through this Feb. 2001 Wired article When Gamer Humor Attacks which was mostly about the All Your Base phenomenon. So to respond, somebody set me up the MetaFilter.

And then I lurked for a while, thought I'd screwed up the registration, lurked for a while, then decided to register again 2 and a half years later and found out that MetaFilter stores username registration information forever.
posted by Kattullus at 7:30 PM on October 5, 2007

Here's a related thread:

oh, i remember that day! here's what meta looked like shortly after miguel posted that thread.
posted by quonsar at 7:56 PM on October 5, 2007

I found MetaFilter from the Brill's Content with Matt on the cover (May, 2001). My boss at the time got a case of them for her students. After I joined MetaFilter, I stole the entire case of magazines. I still have half a dozen copies left. If you'd like one, drop me an email. I've mailed at least twenty copies to members over the past six years.
posted by ColdChef at 8:04 PM on October 5, 2007

I found it via Suck.com --> Plastic.com --> Metafilter, back in 2000 or so.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:13 PM on October 5, 2007

It kind of feel out of the sourdough starter, all yeasty and smelling sour, so I added some flour and kept it warm, and it just keeps growing and growing, :sigh:.
posted by edgeways at 8:19 PM on October 5, 2007


Marco Chicken?
posted by davejay at 8:36 PM on October 5, 2007

It was either through kottke, jack saturn, or one of the other Pyra Labs people. I can't remember anymore.
posted by carsonb at 8:39 PM on October 5, 2007

I emailed Matt and begged. Soon after, the site reopened. Coincidence?
posted by docpops at 8:53 PM on October 5, 2007

RSS feeds in yahoo pages, whenever they added that feature mefi was listed as one of the yahoo picks (or whatever). I think registration was closed at the time and for the longest time I was quite fine looking at the 3 headlines at a time that popped up on my news page.
posted by IronLizard at 8:59 PM on October 5, 2007

I know I was reading compulsively by 9/11/01 because the second I got into work that day I hit mefi & obsessively refreshed that thread all day... can't for the life of me remember where I first staggered across it though, but it seems to have stuck to me. I didn't join until registration re-opened in '04 & I snailmailed a friend a check so she could paypal me in because I am not so much into teh paypal & here we all are today.

Maude help us.

I still mostly lurk compulsively though.
posted by susanbeeswax at 9:27 PM on October 5, 2007

Regarding the Brills Content mag of which ColdChef speaks: the cover and the article via the 'I intend to post a new essay about some aspect of my experiences every week' human portal.
posted by peacay at 9:30 PM on October 5, 2007

Through a bunch of via links, as I recall. Like someone else said above, I discovered MeFi, Boing Boing, Memepool etc. around the same time. Lurked for a while, then registered as soon as it re-opened... but couldn't actually post for a while until I found a spare goddamned five bucks.


/still broke. just a drop-out.
posted by brundlefly at 9:38 PM on October 5, 2007

Doing a search for websites appropriate for seniors without much computer/internet experience; came across an AskMe of pretty much the same question; kept coming back to skim through AskMe every couple of days for quite a while before I realized there was anything else to the site. I don't really know why I finally joined, except that at the time I was unemployed and bored.
posted by frobozz at 9:57 PM on October 5, 2007

I'm pretty sure I found it through Chris Livingston's blog Not My Desk, back when it was still active. I couldn't join for almost a year, though, since new user sign-ups were closed back then.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:05 PM on October 5, 2007

Don't know when or where exactly, but it was back when I was first discovering these odd sites called "blogs." I think I found it from in4mador, or I found boingboing from in4mador and MetaFilter from boingboing. Something like that.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:06 PM on October 5, 2007

My best guess is that I Googled something and stumbled on an AskMe question. I was lured into the dark underworld of RelationshipFilter, coughed up my $5, and haven't been seen since.
posted by desjardins at 10:09 PM on October 5, 2007

Someone linked to my old blog on here back in 2000, and I joined (free back then).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:25 PM on October 5, 2007

Was linked to the Kaycee Nicole thread (probably from K5). Lurked until signups were open again.
posted by ODiV at 11:18 PM on October 5, 2007

posted by B(oYo)BIES at 11:45 PM on October 5, 2007

9/11. I somehow found my way here (a lot of sites were down I seem to remember). I couldn't figure out what I was looking at, the page seemed like some screen of consciousness, but when I figured it out I started to enjoy it. It was a pretty traumatic way to be introduced to MetaFilter.
posted by chlorus at 12:15 AM on October 6, 2007

*stream of consciousness. My screen looks conscious but that's just cuz I'm really stoned.
posted by chlorus at 12:17 AM on October 6, 2007

k10k...I think.
posted by juv3nal at 12:35 AM on October 6, 2007

came here after seeing the epic 2015 video. don't know why that led me here, but it did.

after that, i became excessively involved/excited with the site (even posting an askme about whether matt accepted fanmail, among other stupid things i've done here.)

fortunately, i later became a much more reasonable lurker.
posted by localhuman at 12:57 AM on October 6, 2007

Also via Slumbering Lungfish (Lore Sjoberg's blog. I guess here, he has opted for the more brusque 'L.') Also found memepool the same way.

I lurked a LONG damn time (as in years and years,) but always managed to miss signups. Finally, after signups had been democratized (or, perhaps, more accurately, plutocratized) for a while, I signed up. Now, people who probably haven't read the site for as long as I have make fun of my high user number. Good times!
posted by blenderfish at 1:38 AM on October 6, 2007

You noobs can repeat that lurker/signups line a zillion times and I'll never believe it. I hear the cabal keeps records.
posted by carsonb at 1:40 AM on October 6, 2007

Seconding the Suck.com --> Plastic.com --> Metafilter introduction (I even had a plastic.com email address!). Took me forever to get an account, I got in on April Fool's 2004 along with Ethereal Bligh and 50 others.
posted by blasdelf at 2:05 AM on October 6, 2007

This is vaguely related, but I will share it anyway - I remember Matt saying last night that there are approximately 35,000 users who are either active or lurking on mefi.

I'm sure it is useful in this context, but I might just be posting it here so I don't forget it along with my hangover.
posted by triv at 2:11 AM on October 6, 2007

Aha. Here is the page (wayback version of Lore's blog, with metafiter fairly prominently on the left.)
posted by blenderfish at 2:32 AM on October 6, 2007

And I hear there is no cabal, carsonb.
posted by blenderfish at 2:36 AM on October 6, 2007

posted by carsonb at 2:44 AM on October 6, 2007

I found this place purely by accident several years ago. I apparently made a typo while I was looking for metafilger.com.
posted by flarbuse at 7:41 AM on October 6, 2007

metafilter: screen of consciousness
posted by quonsar at 8:23 AM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well I guess I'm new and I use a lot of brackets so no-one probably gives a shit but this is where I how I came to be here (and I'm so hooked).
posted by h00py at 8:50 AM on October 6, 2007

- where I (how embarrassment!)
posted by h00py at 8:51 AM on October 6, 2007

Slashdot somehow led me to an entry on skallas's blog which led me here. Where I lurked for almost five years before signing up, and now still mostly lurk.
posted by janell at 11:21 AM on October 6, 2007

My brother found his tongs and had the gall to sign up so he could contribute a clarification that you wonderful people didn't even need.

My tutoree triumphed over his GenChem once I figured out hwo much to charge him.

Nanojath was right about my orchid. R.I.P.
posted by janell at 11:40 AM on October 6, 2007

Oops! wrong thread!
posted by janell at 11:40 AM on October 6, 2007

I have no idea how I got here. Where am I?

Please hope me.
posted by trip and a half at 12:11 PM on October 6, 2007

camworld? infosift? rebeccaspocket? I don't know, it was some early blogoperson. I was just digging through a box of old business cards and I found one from mathowie back from a zillion years ago when he designed it to look like a BART pass. I must have gotten it at SXSW 2000 which I went to a few months after first logging in here. This was probably the first thread I commented in maybe. Oh gosh, riothero.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:31 PM on October 6, 2007

It was linked from Craigslist for a while. Pretty soon I decided it was more fun to read MeFi than try to unload my worthless crap on Craigslist.
posted by Quietgal at 1:13 PM on October 6, 2007

Oh gosh, riothero.

I thought he must be some long-forgotten paladin of the Early Days, but the guy only left two comments in his brief time here. I guess you remember him because he commented in your first thread. That is an interesting thread; I love the delightfully disingenuous explanation for spamming by kevincmurphy:

My intention was to drop a line to several of the weblogs I really enjoyed and invite them to drop by. Since I get the impression that most 'bloggers enjoy exploring the web for new links, I didn't really think there was much harm to my letter. If people dug the site, good. If they dug the site enough to link to it, that's even better.... But, above all else, I really just wanted to say "Hi!"

I love the apostrophe in 'bloggers, too. Ah, 2000!
posted by languagehat at 1:37 PM on October 6, 2007

Originally found it from a link at (mefi's own) Defective Yeti. Over time I'd start noticing links on other sites, too. The first few visits I really and truly did not "get" MetaFilter. Then some random AskMe thread pulled me in and I lurked for a long while before finally biting the bullet and joining during the infamous mushroom thread.
posted by SassHat at 2:50 PM on October 6, 2007

Strangely, I was told about it by another real live human in person, back in the no new members era. We were both early joiners when hell froze over in November 04.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:54 PM on October 6, 2007

evstar made me come.
posted by tehloki at 4:35 PM on October 6, 2007

I thought he must be some long-forgotten paladin of the Early Days

He was a very young paladin of early blogging days but didn't make much of a splash here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:10 PM on October 6, 2007

I've been wracking my brain for nearly a minute and a half, and have come to the realization that I have no goddam clue how I found this place. I could make some crazy guesses, like perhaps I saw a comment in the Mac News Network lounge, but that would most likely be utterly incorrect. I was reading the site long before the Great Blackout that lasted 2 months, though, and tried and tried to register for about a year after that before Matt finally reopened it permenntly.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:26 PM on October 6, 2007

I googled meat filter but made a typo.
posted by drezdn at 5:43 PM on October 6, 2007

Really through Brill's Content though.
posted by drezdn at 5:43 PM on October 6, 2007

I'm really still just lurking... mostly.
posted by psmealey at 5:56 PM on October 6, 2007

I actually know very specifically the trail of internet that led me here, dating back to about 1996, when I was in fifth grade.

So way back then, I was good friends with this kid David, and we would share dorky computer things with each other. One day, he showed me the demo he'd gotten for this game called Dogz. If you don't know, it was this silly little virtual pet thing. I got really into this game, and started hanging out on various Petz fansites as well as the official sites. Eventually PF Magic went bankrupt, got bought out, and the whole series went downhill. One of their earlier games, Oddballz, had never been updated since it came out way back when, and it's website popped out of existence at this point, and started redirecting to a list of other pages hosted by that company.

One of these was cruel.com. This was around about the start of high school for me. I started reading it on and off, and eventually found my way from there to K. Thor Jensen's Amber Forever project. I started poking around on his other stuff, and found my way to his now defunct dogsjournal. I read through this, and in one of the posts he had posted a result from Rum & Monkey's Horrible Affliction Test, which had swept through livejournal and similar sites at the time. Point of interest: the comments to dogsjournal also served as my first exposure to Goatse and Tubgirl.

I started hanging out on the forums for Rum & Monkey in fall of 2002. It was my junior year of high school. Spent about a year there, and made a lot of friends and internet contacts. Among these was Ben Werdemuller, who runs R&M, and does a lot of cool internet stuff. He's a regular reader of Metafilter, although I don't believe he's a member, and would occasionally link something to here in his livejournal.

I followed over about a year ago now, when he linked the sidebarred answer from a 14 year old on how to relate to kids. I lurked for a while, got distracted by other bits of internet, and then came back for good last april.

I have never actually written this up before.
posted by Arturus at 11:30 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

funnily enough metafilter was shown in a spotlight on a tvshow in new zealand like six years ago. i lurked for a while and signed up. hurrah!
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 4:54 AM on October 7, 2007

posted by asok at 7:00 AM on October 7, 2007

via <>Kottke.>
posted by brent at 8:50 AM on October 7, 2007

What's Metafilter?
posted by A Long and Troublesome Lameness at 5:02 PM on October 7, 2007

I found it from Code Monkey before it got bought out by some conglomerate or other and vanished. I haven't been able to get a full day of work done since then (and it's been over five years now).
posted by dg at 6:45 PM on October 7, 2007

So, what's the most popular place where people found about MetaFilter?
posted by Samara at 3:53 AM on October 8, 2007

Arturus, I like your comment, delving back into the old time sites and the cookie trail that brought you here. Cruel was one of my favorite sites back in the days. I like the trip down Internet memory lane that your comment and some others in this thread evoke ... Brill's Content, Pyra Labs, Suck, Rebecca's Pocket ...

That thread about the 14 year old was the response from Feisty Ferret and then the follow-on Metatalk, right? That fascinated me - I am interested in who are youngest members are and curious about how many high schools students we have here.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:26 AM on October 8, 2007

Better yet, why do people leave Metafilter?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 PM on October 8, 2007

You can log out, but you can never leave.
posted by dg at 3:26 AM on October 9, 2007

My SO used it to help me once and I have been fascinated ever since. I'm almost scared to make a post because I don't want to ruin his street cred.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 5:14 PM on October 9, 2007

Unicorn on the cob, just jump in and join the fray. We are in dire need of more illuminati femmebots posting here, we've a real dearth. If you are hesitant about a post, run it by an old timer first. And as for your SO, he is on his own - we will love him or hate him on his own merits. Plus, no worries, we don't even know who he is! (It's mathowie, right?)
posted by madamjujujive at 6:17 PM on October 9, 2007

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