Who wants to play on a project? August 28, 2009 2:42 PM   Subscribe

No-profit labor of love project - Any way to announce and seek help from the MetaFilter community?

So, I'm working on a project that is a labor of love for me - not planning on taking in any money, but definitely not going to be able to do it alone... and I think the MeFi community would have the kind of people who would be interested in helping with it (Yes, i'm being deliberately vague). I'm not looking to pay anyone (So jobs is clearly not the right place) .. and it's nowhere near done (So projects is wrong)... Is there a place I can say "Hey MeFites, who wants to play on this project with me?"
posted by frwagon to Etiquette/Policy at 2:42 PM (24 comments total)

going out on a limb, I'd think as long as you are upfront about the no pay, Jobs might be the best place, if there is a place, for it in the MeVerse.
posted by edgeways at 2:53 PM on August 28, 2009


They will probably just say no, there's no place for it here. I'm sorry :(
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:55 PM on August 28, 2009


We're listening...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:06 PM on August 28, 2009


I like projects. I like collaborations. I like hobbies. Please god let it involve all three of those.
posted by Think_Long at 3:10 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Put all the details in your profile with a way to contact you, and then and post a question to AskMetafilter with enough details to make people interested in finding out more. Like...."Help me name my project".
posted by iconomy at 3:13 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


If it involves ice cream, count me in.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:00 PM on August 28, 2009


We've had folks propose projects in Metatalk before when the project itself would basically exist for the sake of mefite involvement or would otherwise be significantly "about" the community; those sorts of things are usually okay, since they're in an explicit way metafilter-community related.

I get the impression from your reticence about details that this isn't really something like that, though, so much as a non-mefi-related project you're undertaking and just kind of looking for willing labor for. Which is understandable, but, yeah, there may not really be anywhere on the site for proposing something sort of loose and semi-secretive like that.

If you're able to put together a clear and interesting sort of presentation-of-what-the-project-is on the web that'd have some content in its own right, that sort of thing could be fine for Projects, I thinkā€”the "nowhere near done" thing is more an encouragement to be sharing some actual substantial thing with the community (vs. the undesirable "I have an idea but nothing to show for it yet" skeletal post we see now and then) than an expectation of having to guarantee that a Project has actually been 100% finished and done with.

Again, without more details, it's hard to know. If you want to run 'em by me in private for a more detailed opinion, feel free to email or mefimail me and I'll chatter with you about it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:24 PM on August 28, 2009


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: we need a Metafilter collaboration platform.

I honestly shudder to think of all the awesome projects we're not pursuing today because there's no easy way to arrange the exchange of some of the enthusiasm and creativity of which there is so much around here.

I'll say it one more time: we need a platform for this.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:25 PM on August 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'll say it one more time: we need a platform for this.

I agree that it'd be good to have a more formal way to manage these things, and to maybe have a space for a somewhat broader range of such collab proposals. But the distinction in practice is between (1) "a (Metafilter collaboration) platform" and (2) "a Metafilter (collaboration platform)".

Right now we basically have (1) in place: folks can bring stuff up on Metatalk if it's basically "hey, metafilter, let's do something awesome together". Metatalk is not custom-built for that, but it's certainly been sufficient for a bunch of different projects in the past. (Music Talk is working pretty well for a music-centric platform for these things, too.)

What we don't have is (2), a Metafilter-hosted platform for generic not-necessarily-site-specific collaboration. And I think this'd be a neat thing to have, but it's much broader and accordingly muddier territory to try and stake out, and would require a lot of talking out assuming it's something Matt and the rest of us actually felt like was a strong candidate for building in the first place.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:30 PM on August 28, 2009


If you are genuinely part of the community, you will already have a list of people who you think might be interested. MeMail them.
posted by DU at 4:38 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm okay with nudity. My own and the nudity of others.
posted by ColdChef at 5:20 PM on August 28, 2009


If you are genuinely part of the community, you will already have a list of people who you think might be interested. MeMail them.

Even if I knew them or had interacted with them, I'd personally feel uncomfortable doing this. MeMail doesn't need unwarranted spam, and people tend to be understandably persnickety about this.

Add me to the list of pro-collaboration platform pushers.
posted by spiderskull at 5:32 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think a personal email from a human you frequently interact with and who has seen what you are about and thinks you might be interested in X is "unwarranted spam".
posted by DU at 5:40 PM on August 28, 2009


How does a MeMail message from a member of this website qualify as "spam" if you're 1) not selling something, 2) not offering to enhance their genital size, or 3) not trying to get money out of Nigeria?

The pool of people who are members of MetaFilter number fewer than 100,000. If anyone is truly spamming the community, they will be removed by the mods. Take down your defenses and just let people approach you!
posted by hippybear at 5:46 PM on August 28, 2009


But you're a man!
posted by cashman at 6:04 PM on August 28, 2009


I favor a collaboration platform. MeMail is a nice idea, but you miss the lurkers that way (many of whom are shy violets sitting on secret lodes of talent and energy).

One day.
posted by Miko at 8:18 PM on August 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


I understand what the poster says...and looking through his view, I understand why he wants to make it MeFi related.

BUT...on the flipside, there may be some less scrupulous mefites out there who see the THOUSANDS of people who log in and participate everyday as a potential:

1. labor pool
2. pool of people to have specific items marketed towards them
3. list of people who have email addresses
4. people more likely to need "saving" since they are educated, objective, respectful of the scientific method, and mostly nonbelievers.
5. people more likely to have money to spend on whathaveyou.

So yeah...because of those less scrupulous users, maybe it would be better if you actually...DIDN'T try to make this a metafilter project.

The internets are out there...and it would be awesomer if metafilters found out about your labor of love through the internets...rather than finding out about it here.

Does that make sense...and good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:59 AM on August 29, 2009


wait. . . hal? there are secret lurking creationists hell bent on spamming us, and that's why the op can't start a collaborative no-profit venture?

That doesn't make much sense to me. now I just feel vulnerable and afraid
posted by Think_Long at 7:22 AM on August 29, 2009


we need a Metafilter collaboration platform.

WeFi?
posted by EarBucket at 8:03 AM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I whole heartedly support a collarboration platform subsite being built into metafilter. The singularity awaits.
posted by bigmusic at 3:57 AM on August 30, 2009


How does a MeMail message from a member of this website qualify as "spam" if you're 1) not selling something, 2) not offering to enhance their genital size, or 3) not trying to get money out of Nigeria?

This will wendell.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:26 AM on August 30, 2009


Just to be clear where we are administratively on the mefimail thing:

1. It's fine to send a specific, friendly message to another mefite or five if you want to get ahold of them about something. That goes for project collaboration ideas, and it goes for random "oh hey you like ethnomethodology too!" or "I thought you comment was funny!" or whatever. It's there specifically as a lightweight method for users to contact one another.

2. It's not okay to actually use mefimail to literally spam people. This has, to our knowledge, come up once or maybe twice, from a brand new user who didn't get the site and as far as I can recall got instabanned.

3. It's okay to tell someone you don't want mefimail from not to mail you again. There's also a built in facility for blocking mefimail from specific users. And, in general, if there's something weird or uncomfortable going on in mefimail, let the admins knows and we'll look into it.

Spamming is bad. Being social, saying hello to people, sharing ideas are all in principle totally okay.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:38 AM on August 30, 2009


I favor a collaboration platform. MeMail is a nice idea, but you miss the lurkers that way (many of whom are shy violets sitting on secret lodes of talent and energy).

what about making it easier to find people who are interested in collaborative projects by having an "I'd like to collaborate, memail me!" section in our profiles? it could even allow people to specify what sorts of projects they are interested in with a series of tick boxes like the ones in the contacts section. (for example, ColdChef could tick off the nudity box)
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:59 PM on August 31, 2009


I've seen plenty of volunteer-esque positions posted in Jobs the past (perhaps that's not really kosher?). So I think that's where this could go.

If you are genuinely part of the community, you will already have a list of people who you think might be interested. MeMail them.

Nah, I probably recognize at least 50+ users on the site by sight (as in, "Oh yeah, I remember what they've posted") but couldn't pull them out of thin air if I needed to remember. Add to which the whole point is that MeFi is a nice community of people whose shared characteristic is we all tend to be a bit enthused about things. I personally want to find out about this project (or at least, I'd love more details), but I doubt that I'm even on frwagon's radar.

I think putting the details in the profile and then doing an AskMe of "Name my project" is both sneaky and ineffective since those questions are routinely ignored and you can actually see AskMe posts plummet down the page as you hit the reload button.


what about making it easier to find people who are interested in collaborative projects by having an "I'd like to collaborate, memail me!" section in our profiles? it could even allow people to specify what sorts of projects they are interested in with a series of tick boxes like the ones in the contacts section. (for example, ColdChef could tick off the nudity box)

This would be non-trival to develop and use.

The thing is, people are all like, "Man wouldn't it be cool if MetaFilter had (a dating section|an events calendar|a social network)?" and the truth is, as awesome as these would be, this is not what MetaFilter is.

I think this is another time when MetaFilter "fails" in the sense that there's something awesome that could happen but basically you can't do because of a history and culture that's developed on the site. Overall I think this is a positive rather than a negative, since otherwise people would be posting all kinds of cruft and garbage. But it does mean that certain avenues of information sharing and collaboration are closed. The best example I can come up with are works that MeFites have done which are neither websites nor music. Basically, unless it is an MP3 file, which you can upload to the music section, the item in question must be wholly contained in a website, and that website must to some extent be the project.


The one thing I could see fitting in nicely with the site (but which would probably never be implemented nontheless) would be a kind of simple twitter functionality, so that you could enter a quick message and everyone on your contacts list would see it. Since you would have to be a contact before seeing the message, this would hopefully sidestep the spamming problem, and you could post something like "Looking for people to collaborate in XYZ...MeMail me for details" that would get sent to all of your contacts.

I think the people here on MetaFilter are keen and I wish there was some kind of way to find out if someone has an exciting project to do or something. I'd even gladly go to a paid event featuring a MeFite. I do keep meaning to check out MetaChat more often and it is a viable option for posting stuff that isn't really okay on MetaFilter, unless you interpret "viable" to also mean "gets read by an appreciable number of MeFites".

Anyway, no solution that I can see to this. Basically MetaFilter can't be everything, as much as some of us would like it to be.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:30 PM on August 31, 2009


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