Metafilter Ethos January 30, 2008 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Syndicated columnist Annalee Newitz on Metafilter.
posted by bigmusic to MetaFilter-Related at 6:13 PM (74 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Now with page one!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:19 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who is she here? Don't make me work!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:22 PM on January 30, 2008


I'm going to post a link to this OverCompensating comic before the name puns and boyzonery start.

I hope they don't start.
posted by heeeraldo at 6:28 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


I hear bigmusic is so embarrassed by this, he's experiencing severe shrinkage.
posted by wendell at 6:33 PM on January 30, 2008


Annalee? Sure, why not?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:36 PM on January 30, 2008


I have the old (Freudian slip) spelling on the MeTa front page, but the new spelling on the post itself. Even after multiple refreshings. Howzat work?
posted by googly at 6:38 PM on January 30, 2008


It's a mystery.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:38 PM on January 30, 2008


Annalee also does that new io9.com site we discussed on mefi a couple weeks ago.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:39 PM on January 30, 2008


I think she has a point, having read gnfti's link of the full article.

Blogs can be outspoken and controversial, or they can take the easy road and blog for profit, about safe or even sponsored subjects. One of my favorite people is a woman who speaks up about the very real problems she had with postpartum depression, and how you never hear about PPD unless it is in the context of a woman who has actually killed her children. She has a blog, after having resigned from a very well-paying position in a prestigious firm, because she wants this issue to be heard and discussed in an honest, open way.

But the thing is, I know a lot of people who blog are really trying to make a living out of blogging, so they feel like they can't be too controversial or they will lose their readers, or worse, their sponsors.

That's what I like about Metafilter. There are very few topics that are off limits, and the discussions here are both passionate and educational. Matt, rather than buckling under to advertising pressure, has kept an admirably ethical stance, asking only for small subscription fees and managing MeFi as a community. He doesn't write sponsored posts or allow his users to self-link and thank goodness for that!
posted by misha at 6:41 PM on January 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Annalee and I are on a panel together at SXSW about revolting users. Be cool y'all.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:48 PM on January 30, 2008


And it was that discussion that (at least partially) inspired her article.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:48 PM on January 30, 2008


"Social Network Coups: The Users are Revolting!"

You said it. They stink on ice!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:49 PM on January 30, 2008


Hey, that's a really interesting topic Jessamyn! Would love to hear/read more on that.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:50 PM on January 30, 2008


What does "still-subterranean" mean?

I mean, I realize it indicates that we're underground, but to whom?

Or does it mean we're troglodytes?
posted by Dave Faris at 6:53 PM on January 30, 2008


"I mean, I realize it indicates that we're underground, but to whom?"

No one I know in real life has ever heard of this site.
posted by 517 at 7:03 PM on January 30, 2008 [8 favorites]


Even the most mainstream blogs don't suffer the same pressures that mainstream publications like the New York Times do.

On the other hand, people who write for the New York Times get paid. It evens out!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:03 PM on January 30, 2008


Previously
posted by bonehead at 7:05 PM on January 30, 2008


Annalee and I are on a panel together at SXSW about revolting users. Be cool y'all.

Oh...I thought you meant like when we don't shower and make crude breast references. Instead, Viva La Revolucion!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:06 PM on January 30, 2008


matt: she mentions it in the post. Even you don't read them anymore?

We are doooooooooomed!
posted by absalom at 7:13 PM on January 30, 2008


I have the old (Freudian slip) spelling on the MeTa front page, but the new spelling on the post itself. Even after multiple refreshings. Howzat work?

Caching on the front pages of the various subsites, to reduce server load. It's about a five minute cycle, I think.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:16 PM on January 30, 2008


I stopped reading her techsploitation column in SFBG after realizing that she was basically talking about stuff that had appeared about 9 months ago on Metafilter. Its a tech column for the masses. Nothing wrong with that. Its just that none of us here are her core audience.

But that also explains the subterranean remark. Metafilter is not broadly known. Its very "old-skool" in many ways and thats a good thing. Its the main reason I've maintained a constant presence here since 2001.
posted by vacapinta at 7:20 PM on January 30, 2008


Who actually thinks of MeFi as a blog?
posted by Afroblanco at 7:24 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


The only thing that's revolting around here are the puns.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:28 PM on January 30, 2008


Who actually thinks of MeFi as a blog?

what should we think of it as, a pterodactyl?
posted by jonmc at 7:29 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


I dunno. I think of MeFi as more of a message board with a blog-like interface.

When I think of a blog, I think of a site with, like, 1-5 people who post entries. Maybe this is an antiquated definition, but I think that MeFi has more in common with a message board than, say, something like BoingBong or Gawker.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:37 PM on January 30, 2008


what should we think of it as, a pterodactyl?

A soul-sucking pit of despair and swindler of our youth?
posted by Dave Faris at 7:39 PM on January 30, 2008


I don't see Metafilter as a blog either. It is really a fairly unique community that doesn't really fit in the slot she seems to be writing about... I think she's suffering a bit of interweb confusion about modalities and communication models...
posted by HuronBob at 7:43 PM on January 30, 2008


taking the Metafilter ethos mainstream

"Metafilter ethos"?

Over my few years here, I have a premonition as to what this is. But I could never use "Metafilter ethos" as a term in newspaper article.

I could write ten paragraphs on the subject and never even get close to defining it properly. But I would be interested in others' opinions of what this phrase means.
posted by localhuman at 7:45 PM on January 30, 2008


I know one person who knew what Metafilter was when I mentioned it. Everyone else I know who knows about Metafilter knows about it because I told them.
posted by rtha at 8:10 PM on January 30, 2008


i've been annoyed by annalee's affectated look-i-at-me-i'm-bringing-you-dispatches-from-the-super-underground-nrrd-culture-cribbed-from-slashdot columns for at least the past ten years, so I guess you could say I've been HATENG AULD SKOOL.

ah damn, looks like i got beat to it by vacapinta. bay area weekly readers reprazent.
posted by fishfucker at 8:10 PM on January 30, 2008


Ethos. He's one the Three Musketeers, right? Or was that the Three Mouseketeers?
posted by wendell at 8:10 PM on January 30, 2008


a panel together at SXSW about revolting users.
Great topic.
posted by bru at 8:15 PM on January 30, 2008


No one I know in real life has ever heard of this site.

I don't tell people I know in real life about this site, because I don't want more people coming on and crapping it up.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:22 PM on January 30, 2008


I've actually met random strangers who read MetaFilter, and even recognized my username. Which was... awkward. But interesting.

But I've yet to meet an actual fellow user IRL at random - excepting user meetups, of course.
posted by loquacious at 9:04 PM on January 30, 2008


wait - we have an audience here?

OH MY GOD I AM SO EMBARRASSED!!!!!
posted by pyramid termite at 9:20 PM on January 30, 2008


That does look like a super interesting panel, jessamyn. Any chance there will be a video (or transcript or power point slides) after the fact?
posted by mosessis at 9:20 PM on January 30, 2008



I don't see Metafilter as a blog either. It is really a fairly unique community that doesn't really fit in the slot she seems to be writing about... I think she's suffering a bit of interweb confusion about modalities and communication models...


yeah sorry, but her point doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. She's comparing blog entries to comment conversations on Metafilter. How could a thread of comments by 100+ different people be "edited" in the same sense that something written by one author is edited?
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:24 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Its the main reason I've maintained a constant presence here since 2001.

Hah! Newb!

A soul-sucking pit of despair and swindler of our youth?

And yet, here we are, still.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:29 PM on January 30, 2008


Thus the reification provided by an external reference oh christ I just can't fucking do it anymore.
posted by freebird at 10:07 PM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


I have fond memories of Annalee Newitz's column in Salon where she wrote about open source software geek orgies. But that was 8 years ago! I like her writing voice and it's nice to know that she's still around (and that Metafilter has a to-be-envied ethos).
posted by jasper411 at 10:11 PM on January 30, 2008


It's a BBS!
posted by breezeway at 10:24 PM on January 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Will blogs take on all the bad habits of the mainstream media, self-censoring when we should be publishing?

I dunno, I figured most of the big ones - particularly political ones - have been aping the boohissgoddamnyereyes MSM since a'fore the last US election. If anything, self-censorship in terms of not perpetuating unsubstantiated crap and disregarding the few virtues of traditional media of accountability, etc.* could turn out to be the best thing for most of them.

*And yeah, I know, it wouldn't hurt the traditional media to return to those values as well. But your favorite blog still sucks.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:38 PM on January 30, 2008


Somebody mentioned my science fiction blog io9.com, then snarked at me for starting a blog when I was on record saying that blogs freak me out.

You hear that? I'm somebody!
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:58 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I figure if I ever started telling more of my friends about Metafilter I'd have to get a new account just because this username is far too recognizable to literally everyone who knows me. Sigh.
posted by Phire at 11:12 PM on January 30, 2008


A presence is haunting metafilter since 2001.


It's the ghost of dotcom!
posted by jouke at 11:17 PM on January 30, 2008


This is a secret society? Why wasn't I told?
posted by Cranberry at 11:43 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ethos. He's one the Three Musketeers, right?

Yeah, Pathos, Ethos and Cannabis. The Mefi Musketeers.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:18 AM on January 31, 2008 [5 favorites]


Wait. Jessamyn and Annalee are playing SXSW in a band called the Revolting Losers?

(Just don't overpractice your banjo playing before the gig, Jess. You've got that raw, unpolished thing that's gonna be big this year.)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:54 AM on January 31, 2008


Metafilter is definitely an unusual message board, not a blog.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:15 AM on January 31, 2008


From the article: It's because our audiences are starting to be as big as those of the mainstream media, and the mainstream media have taught us to be afraid of saying what we really think to those audiences.

The phenomenon of watering things down to reach/placate wider audiences existed even before ARPANET.

The "voice of the blogosphere" isn't really even a thing. The fun thing, with the Internet, is that there are a lot of sites. I don't care whether or not the Metafilter ethos goes mainstream; I can find it here regardless of what the Post or the Times does.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:46 AM on January 31, 2008


Or does it mean we're troglodytes?

Dave, Dave - no need to bring sexual preferences into the discussion.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:25 AM on January 31, 2008


For Pete's sake, it says right on the front page "MetaFilter/ community weblog." Weblog = blog. So shut up about it, it's a blog.

I liked the piece, especially this part:
Recently I was reading a conversation thread on Metafilter, one of my favorite still-subterranean Web sites for smart talk and slagging. Somebody mentioned my science fiction blog io9.com, then snarked at me for starting a blog when I was on record saying that blogs freak me out. An unedited discussion full of spiky banter and maniacal analysis followed — exactly the kind of conversation I once associated with all blogs. People were nastier than they would have been if writing for a mainstream publication, but the cool ideas–to–noise ratio was nevertheless far higher than you'd ever get in USA Today or CNN.
If more people were that cool about being snarked at around here, this would be a much more civilized place.
posted by languagehat at 8:54 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


...until the people who tell others to shut up rolled around, that is.
posted by breezeway at 9:23 AM on January 31, 2008


If that was a joke, consider it chuckled at. If not, you desperately need a sense of humor.
posted by languagehat at 9:26 AM on January 31, 2008


If not, you desperately need a sense of humor.

Sez the guy who can't tell if someone's joking or not.

I'm just joking.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:33 AM on January 31, 2008


No one I know in real life has ever heard of this site.

Praise be to [$DEITY]. Like Phire said, if MetaFilter ever really gets "mainstream," I'll have to quit y'all.

I don't think it's a matter of inevitability, though. I think that to make it at MeFi people have to be

1. familiar enough with the internet to realize that it's mostly mouth-breathers, trolls and spammers out there...
2. intelligent enough to want to spend time online away from mouth-breathers, trolls and spammers...
3. patient enough to get used to a decidedly-old-school UI...
4. patient enough to lurk long enough to figure out the social dynamics...
5. thick enough skin to deal with the snark and the high standard for FPPs
6. willing to spend five bucks
7. willing to wait to start posting at AskM-- OH LOOK! something shiny over there! with rounded corners! and it's free! and I can use my avatar! and I can make a network! of thousands of people! and we can exchange Snoggles and High-Fives and gifs of funny cats and I can validate my own existence by convincing myself that my number of Online Social Network Friends somehow approximates self-worth....

I really hope that this place never changes. There are plenty of natural barriers to entry that we don't have to worry about hoi polloi. Membership will grow organically as more people come online, but MeFi will always self-prune.

Also, I buried a blocking gris-gris and a chicken's foot by the sign-up page, so that'll help.
posted by pineapple at 9:42 AM on January 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


...if not, you desperately need a sense of humor.

Oh, shut up!
posted by breezeway at 9:58 AM on January 31, 2008


we can exchange Snoggles and High-Fives

pony plz. kthxbye.
posted by juv3nal at 12:16 PM on January 31, 2008


I miss crunchland.
posted by deborah at 2:19 PM on January 31, 2008


It's right where it's always been, dear.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:46 PM on January 31, 2008


Gee, I don't know whether to snark, chuckle or shut up.

I guess I'll do none of the above.

*whistles*
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:51 PM on January 31, 2008


Anybody see the first comment at the end of the article?
posted by merelyglib at 2:12 PM on February 1, 2008


yes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:15 PM on February 1, 2008


ah.
posted by merelyglib at 2:30 PM on February 1, 2008


It's a pity that some people can't just flame out -- they have to also go away mewling and flailing, clamoring for attention.

But it boils down to this: if you can't cut it here, at MetaFilter proper, then why would you think that anyone gives a mangy rat's ass about a self-indulgent parody site? It requires too much suspension of disbelief. Even if another whole 2 or 3 angry flame-out kittens gather round and mewl with you, you're still just a user who couldn't cut it here and took his toys home. It's yawn-worthy.

We regret to inform you of the board's unanimous opinion that you don't have a valid business model nor strength on the leadership team, and therefore reject your request for Series A funding. Best of luck with your future endeavors.
posted by pineapple at 2:36 PM on February 1, 2008


but who will police the police?!? And cortex, think of the children! WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!?!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:38 PM on February 1, 2008


The first comment? Yeah. Uh. Wow.

MeFlip still pisses me off. But maybe that's just me.
posted by Phire at 2:40 PM on February 1, 2008


I'd be really in favor of not talking about it. I don't know why he's choosing to react the way he has—it's pretty troubling and doesn't seem to jibe with the principles and ideas he otherwise seems to value—but rehashing it on the site, even when he's apparently begging for the attention, doesn't seem like a really useful thing to do.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:44 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fuck it, dude. Let's go bowling.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:53 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]



The first comment? Yeah. Uh. Wow.


See? dude just needs someone to send 'im a snoggle. Get it done.
posted by juv3nal at 3:26 PM on February 1, 2008


dude.
posted by juv3nal at 3:27 PM on February 1, 2008


dooooooooooood.
posted by rtha at 5:18 PM on February 1, 2008


PineApple: "if MetaFilter ever really gets "mainstream," I'll have to quit y'all."

I rue the morning when I wake up and there's scores of reporters outside my window wanting to ask me questions about something I said in here five years ago which suddenly becomes news for some inexplicable reason I can't even properly imagine now, but MeFi suddenly gets mainstream exposure and we all get thrown to the sharks. In this doomsday scenario, you wake up the same morning with similar papparazzi problems. It's not just me. We all get thrown to the sharks.

Fortunately, the odds of that happening are about equal to my getting struck by lightning.

*crackle* BOOM! *crackle*

...

Uhm... The odds of that happening are about equal to Ali Larter ringing my doorbell and professing her love to me!

*crickets*

Damn.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:29 AM on February 2, 2008


The love of a cricket is nothing to shirk, sir.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:41 AM on February 2, 2008


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